Monday, May 25, 2015

Texas Governor Greg Abbott Adds 24 Counties To Disaster Declaration


As severe weather including tornadoes, heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and flooding continue across areas of Texas, Governor Greg Abbott today declared a state of disaster in Archer, Bastrop, Caldwell, Cass, Collin, Dewitt, Fannin, Grayson, Harrison, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hill, Houston, Kendall, Jasper, Johnson, Newton, Nueces, Parker, San Jacinto, Walker, Wichita and Wilson counties, authorizing further mobilization of state resources to assist impacted communities. Additional counties may be added to the declaration as the situation develops.

“The State of Texas has taken brisk action in dispatching all available resources to aid those affected by this severe weather system, and I strongly urge all Texans to exercise every possible precaution to ensure their safety and the safety of their families and neighbors,” said Governor Abbott. “My thoughts and prayers are with all the communities that are suffering as a result of this weather disaster, and I am grateful for the first responders who have worked tirelessly to provide shelter, care and resources to all impacted areas.”

Governor Abbott declared a state of disaster in Bosque, Clay, Denton, Eastland, Gaines, Montague and Van Zandt counties on May 11th, 2015 and added Cooke, Grimes, Hood, Navarro, Smith and Wise counties on May 15th, 2015. The Governor’s declaration follows an elevated activation of the Texas State Operations Center (SOC) to enable rapid deployment of state resources announced on Friday, May 4th.

Current forecasts indicate the continuation of possible severe thunderstorms, large hail, damaging winds, flash flooding, river flooding and tornadoes across the state throughout the week. At this time, any additional rainfall will exacerbate already saturated grounds, which could quickly lead to dangerous flash flooding and extended river flooding. The SOC – in coordination with the Texas Emergency Management Council – remains at an elevated activation level and is continuing to monitor weather conditions and coordinate with the National Weather Service.

Texans are encouraged to follow these safety tips during this weather event:

When severe storms threaten, the safest place to be is indoors.
Avoid areas already flooded and avoid any fast-flowing water.
Be extremely cautious of any water on roads or in creeks, streams, storm drains or other areas – never attempt to cross flowing streams or drive across flooded roadways and observe road barricades placed for your protection.
Remember that dangerous waters can seem deceptively calm, and if you encounter flooding, move to higher ground.
Monitor weather radios and news broadcasts for updated information on current and anticipated severe weather in your area.

Keep in mind that flood dangers are even harder to recognize at night.
Be mindful that rising and moving water can also threaten people on foot and individuals near recreational waterways impacted by significant rainfall.
Monitor weather radios and news broadcasts for updated information on current and anticipated severe weather in your area.

Stay informed and heed warnings by local officials.

For additional safety tips related to tornadoes, thunderstorms and flooding, see: http://dps.texas.gov/dem/ThreatAwareness/weather_aware_severe.htm

The American Red Cross has established the following website for individuals in impacted areas: https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php

The following resources are involved in the state’s continued response to this weather event:

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS): Assisting with reconnaissance, search and rescue efforts, and providing personnel and resources as needed.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD): Conducting search and rescue missions during flash flooding/water incidents in affected areas.

Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS): DSHS have mobilized resources, equipment and personnel to provide medical assistance as needed.

Texas Military Forces (TMF): TMF has deployed aircraft and high-profile vehicles, and continues providing assistance with search and rescue missions as needed.

Texas Task Force 1 (TTF1): Air and boat rescue squads have been deployed for search and rescue missions as needed.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ): Continues to monitor dams and river levels in the affected areas.

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT): Crews have deployed resources to address flooding conditions and debris cleanup impacting roadways.

Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC): Personnel continue to work with utility companies to resolve power/utility issues.

Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA): Assisting communities to apply for funds administered by TDA that will help with storm cleanup and rebuilding.

Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD): Organizations continue to provide shelter and other mass care needs as requested.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter: Iraqi military forces showed no will to fight Islamic State

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter notes that Iraqi military forces showed no will to fight the Islamic State during that fall of Ramadi.

Carter: What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. They were not out numbered but in fact they vastly outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they failed to fight. They withdrew from the site. And that says to me, and I think to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves.

Now, we can give them training, we can give them equipment; we obviously can't give them the will to fight. But if we give them training, we give them equipment and give them support and give them some time, I hope they will develop the will to fight, because only if they fight can ISIL remain defeated.

CNN's Barbara Starr: A lot of people in Washington that you deal with on the other side of the aisle are saying, look, put in ground troops, put in forward air ground controllers -- air strikes are not working. What do you foresee? What is your view on this?

Carter: Air strikes are effective but neither they nor really anything we do can substitute for the Iraqi forces' will to fight.

They're the ones who have that to beat ISIL and keep then keep them beaten. We can participate in the defeat of ISIL but we can't make Iraq run as a decent place for people to live. We can't sustain the victory. Only the Iraqis can do that, and in particular, in this case, the Sunni tribes to the west.

If there comes a time when we need to change the kinds of support we're giving to the Iraqi forces, we'll make that recommendation. But what happened at Ramadi was a failure of the Iraqi forces to fight. And so our efforts now are devoted to providing their ground forces with the equipment, the training, and to try to encourage their will to fight so that our campaign enabling them can be successful both in defeating ISIL and keeping ISIL defeated in a sustained way.

But these things we need to -- all of our tactics.
 

Barack Obama: I have been called the first Jewish President

Speaking at a Jewish American Heritage Month celebration at the Adas Israel synagogue in Washington, D.C., Barack Obama said that he has been called "the first Jewish President."

"Most of all, I want to thank the entire congregation of Adas Israel for having me here today.

"Earlier this week, I was actually interviewed by one of your members, Jeff Goldberg. Jeff reminded me he once called me the first Jewish president.

"Now, since some people still seem to be wondering about my faith, I should make clear this is an honorary title, but I was flattered. And as an honorary member of the tribe not to mention somebody who has hosted 7 White House seders and has been advised by and been advised by two Jewish chiefs of staff, I can also say that I am probably getting a little bit of the hang of the lingo.

"But I will not use any of the Yiddishisms that Rahm Emanuel taught me because I want to be invited back. Let's just say he had some creative synonyms for shalom," President Obama said.

Bill and Hillary finally appear in public together

Bill and Hillary Clinton made finally appeared in public together for the first time since the former Secretary of State launched her 2016 presidential campaign. The former President and First Lady attended the Memorial Day parade in Chappaqua, New York.

Michelle Obama to graduates: Shape the revolutions


On Monday, First Lady Michelle Obama told the graduates of Oberlin College to "rise above the noise and shape the revolutions of your time."

"Think about how even with all the gridlock and polarization in Washington, we have made so much change these past six years:  12 million new jobs.  Sixteen million people who finally have health insurance.  Historic agreements to fight climate change.  Epic increases in college financial aid.  More progress on LGBT rights than any time in our history. And today, it is no longer remarkable to see two beautiful black girls walking their dogs on the South Lawn of the White House lawn.  That’s just the way things are now.

"See, graduates, this is what happens when you turn your attention outward and decide to brave the noise and engage yourself in the struggles of our time. And that’s why, in his remarks 50 years ago, Dr. King urged the class of ‘65 to “stand up” and “be a concerned generation.” And, graduates, that call to action applies just as much to all of you today.

" And I want to be very clear: Every city ordinance, every ballot measure, every law on the books in this country –- that is your concern. What happens at every school board meeting, every legislative session –- that is your concern. Every elected official who represents you, from dog catcher all the way to President of the United States –- they are your concern.

"So get out there and volunteer on campaigns, and then hold the folks you elect accountable. Follow what’s happening in your city hall, your statehouse, Washington, D.C. Better yet, run for office yourself. Get in there. Shake things up. Don’t be afraid. And get out and vote in every election -– not just the big national ones that get all the attention, but every single election. Make sure the folks who represent you share your values and aspirations.

"See, that is how you will rise above the noise and shape the revolutions of your time. That is how you will have a meaningful journey on those clamorous highways of life. And, graduates, that is how you will carry on the proud legacy of this great institution for generations to come," Mrs. Obama said.

Cardinals Mascot Called "Racist" for Holding "Police Lives Matter" Sign

On Sunday, May 17, the mascot of the St. Louis Cardinals held a sign that read "Police Lives Matter." The person in the mascot outfit said he did not know what was on the sign.

For this action, Fredbird has been labelled a "racist." Again, this is a baseball mascot holding a sign saying that police lives matter.

The website Deadspin learned of the picture below and ran a story titled, "Your Racist Uncle Will Love This Picture Of The Cardinals' Mascot:"
The author of the article, Tom Ley, then rambles for several paragraphs in an expletive-filled tirade. For example:
(Here’s where some of you are going to say, “What, police lives don’t matter?” To which all we can say is, “Cut the shit.” Of course police lives matter, but used as a direct retort to the non-controversial idea that black lives matter, the phrase is an at best crypto-racist way of dismissing legitimate anger about police violence in black communities.)
Ley also writes that Fredbird held the sign at an event away from the stadium the Cardinals play in. That's wrong, but he hasn't corrected his mistake in the original article.

Separately, the Cardinals have stated that Fredbird did not know what was on the sign, saying he was approached by fans, who asked him to hold a sign, and he did so.

The image was then posted to the St. Louis Police Officers Association Facebook's page. When the Cardinals heard about the controversy, they contacted the page and asked them to remove the image, which they did.

Julian Castro calls Hillary Clinton email scandal a witch hunt: Says Benghazi has been studied to death


Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro said the Hillary Clinton email scandal is a "witch hunt" that the Benghazi terror attack "has been studied to death." Castro is considered my many, including myself, to be the most likely candidate for Vice President on the 2016 Democratic presidential ticket.

CNN: Let me ask you one more question about the 2016 campaign, these e-mails that have been released by the State Department with respect to Hillary Clinton and her time there, the private e-mails she was using to conduct business at the department. Do you believe that she has answered that question appropriately and fully?

Castro: Oh, absolutely.

CNN: You're satisfied?

Castro: Let's take a look at this issue of Benghazi. This thing has been studied to death by Republicans and Democrats, several committees including in Congress that have all said, yes, of course what happened was tragic but Secretary Clinton was not in any way at all responsible. And what you have here with these e-mails is basically a witch hunt. And you know, Congressman Gowdy, who is leading this, is very intentionally trying to manipulate this witch hunt to play politics.

That's unfortunate. And it's one of the reasons that Congress has a 19% approval rating.

I think we need focus on more substantive things. As one who hasn't spent my lifetime in D.C., I know that out there in America they care about are you reducing Veteran homelessness, are you providing the impetus for young people to be able to achieve their dreams, are we making sure that America in this 21st century remains the undisputed land of opportunity, not whether somebody had e-mails or didn't have them --

CNN: Do you use a private e-mail account?

Castro: I have my government e-mail of course i have my private account. e-mail but i have my government e-mail. but that's beside the point. i think --

CNN: You do government business on the government e-mail account and --

Castro: That's right.

CNN: Private business on the private account.

Castro: That's right. and she's already explained that. people want us to focus on policy makers on things that matter to their lives. They want us to make a difference in creating more opportunity out there. And that's just a witch hunt that is a sideshow. I think the work that we're doing to end veteran homelessness is a good example of something that matters.

Will the dark business of the Clintons sink Hillary’s presidential bid?

We continue learning more about the “dark businesses” of Bill and Hillary Clinton, but probably we will never know about the most scandalous operations thanks the “famous” emails that were deleted in the server of the Clinton family.

The pending question is: How many hours of the Hillary’s trips during the time she was U.S. Secretary of State were official activities of the government? It looks like Hillary used part of her trips for private businesses.

By the way, when Clinton resigned as Secretary of State, a political analyst in a PBS-News panel said that Hillary was tireless traveler, but the results of her trips were not much.

We’ve all seen this movie before. Whitewater, The Vince Foster Affair, Travelgate; the Clinton’s are fodder for more yarns than the James Bond Franchise.

They’ve been in politics for decades and their attackers never seem to tire of writing books ‘hinting’ at dark, backroom deals, corruption and murder.

There’s simply no way they can’t be guilty, right? Yet they’re still here. Ever after Ken Starr’s epic fight to bring them down, they’re still standing. They even impeached Bill – but he got off on a technicality; the Republican led Senate failed to convict.

If you’re a Darwinist, we should probably send the Hillary to the White House just because the Clinton’s have survived and proven their political fitness in the process.

The problem with all of the diehard supporters of Hillary is that the Clinton’s mendacity rubs off on anyone blindly defending them. Can anyone honestly say that all the support is not bought and paid for by the foundation? Even if not true, why would anyone cast their own credibility into the pot to mix with such obvious ethical miscreants?

After 6+ years of Obama apologists, misguided sycophants and ideological lemmings, one would think the country is sick and tired of the political shenanigans, the stonewalling and the utter lack of transparency despite protestations to the contrary.

Most people when confronted as a suspect in an act of criminality would simply say “I didn’t do that. I’m not guilty of that!” Interesting that the Clinton’s and acolyte’s response is a predictable, “where’s the evidence?” In other words, parse the words, “I’m really guilty, but you can’t prove it!”

What I find surprising, and hopeful, is the fact that it’s not just the conservative media looking into and reporting on the Clinton Foundation scandal. The NY Times, Reuters, ABC, etc. are doing their own investigation and reporting.

This reminds me of how Watergate got started, only the Metro Section of the Washington Post initially reporting on the break-in and then following up with the burglars connection to the Republican National Committee and then linking to the Nixon Campaign Committee and then linking to the White House.  By the time the links got to the White House the story was being reported, and investigated, by multiple national media.

Now that the New York Times is coming after Hillary one has to wonder whether her smooth sailing is over. Now even the Times is doing its own legwork. The Times recently reported:

"Mr. Schweizer provided a preview of material in the book to The Times, which scrutinized his information and built upon it with its own reporting."

Now we have the Times doing its own leg work–“built upon it with its own reporting”–and that can’t be good for Hillary. At least this member of the liberal media has decided not to allow her the smooth sailing to the coronation she believes she deserves.

One reason why the uranium deals had to be checked by State is for how they might affect the national interest. It now appears they affect it substantially because the Russians have managed to gain control of the world supply, including U.S. production thanks to the Clintons.

The New York Times also reported that:

"As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records* show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well."

I am no lawyer but I think I can say with some degree of confidence that the above constitutes more than enough circumstantial evidence to prove corruption, if not bribery. It seems Menendez went down for less. And I am guessing this is just the tip of the iceberg of what is available. Add to that the server has been wiped clean, perhaps destroyed, and you have a solid case against Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Those records are apparently from the Canadian tax department. Moreover, I now hear that the Clintons will redo their tax returns for the last few years and that one of the amounts they will now include is that $2.35 million of secret donations.

If you’re the Clintons and have spent your entire lives in government or seeking to influence it, except for a few minutes working for the Rose Law Firm of Little Rock, AR (and hating every one of those minutes), then you have to figure out a way to make money in government. After all, everyone needs to make his pile. Right?

I’m a little surprised that nobody has ever looked at the Bill’s tenure as the Governor of Arkansas. After all, antics such as those practiced by a subsidiary of Rosatom (the Russian atomic energy agency) in pursuit of a global role cornering uranium at a time when the Hillster was serving as Secretary of State and central to decisions about selling strategic U.S. resources, alongside beaucoup millions in donations to the Clinton Foundation and a $500,000 Moscow speech for her are not depths of finesse that just appear. They usually start in the crib.

Outraged critics have spent time and energy trying to convince Democrats that the Clintons are corrupt. The Democrats have known all along and it just has not mattered.  What does it have to do with the issues they ask.

It is like the Senate Democrats who elected and re-elected Harry Reid. Reid took all the blame but he was elected by a Democrat caucus that could have voted for someone ethical if they were so inclined. Ethics have no practical political value.

Corrupt Democrats who elect these guys are just as guilty as the Clintons. I remember when Senator Joe Lieberman made a speech critical of Clinton and was widely congratulated for it. It was right before the impeachment and Senators Moynihan and Robert Kerry congratulated Lieberman. Then all three voted not guilty.

A crime boss might tell you that creating an organized crime machine isn’t the hardest part. Perfect crimes are committed every day. The hardest part of maintaining a criminal enterprise may be in maintaining the discipline to cover your tracks and execute the plan perfectly every time.

Like every organization, I imagine that the task of not getting caught relies on soldiers not making errors. Eventually someone in the crew is bound to slip up or something unexpected turns up, that could not have been planned for. A tax record here, a journal entry there. Not everyone involved in the caper may be as disciplined with their books.

Law enforcement investigation relies on applying pressure continuously, with hope of forcing an error in a well thought out enterprise, to bring down the whole house of cards. Some bosses conduct business their entire lives and never get caught.

Can the Clintons?

Jeff Immelt made the damming admission that he would not release the emails between GE and the State Department regarding the company’s dealings with Algeria, winning a power plant contract while Hillary was Secretary of State and GE gave money to the Clinton foundation. You almost don’t have to read the actual emails to imagine what they must contain. Obviously, if they were exculpatory, Clinton should be begging Immelt to release them.

BTW, if these were legitimate State Dept emails from GE, shouldn’t the State Dept have them? If not, did Hillary consider these personal too?

I look at Hillary Clinton as a Battleship.  Large, formidable, heavily armored and capable of putting out a lot of firepower through her sycophants and acolytes.

However, she’s old, leaky, and she’s taken a number of hits, some of which were torpedo hits below the waterline.  She’s not unsinkable and she’s taking on water but she seems to be able to pump that water back over the side as fast as it comes in.  At the same time some of her bulkheads have become weak and it might not take much for them to give way and send her to the bottom.

I’ll be watching those who have been and continue to be her staunchest defenders, paying careful attention to the strength of their defense of her, the words they use, the fervor with which they defend her.

At some point, if her candidacy is to fail, if the scandals are going to sink her, it will be these defenders who will have to give up, to stop bailing her out.  When I see signs of that happening I’ll know she’s toast.

What we do know is that the Clinton’s are forever tainted. Too many things happened at the same time resulting in certain donors and big payers for speeches getting some special favor that only Hillary could have helped with.  Sure, just a random coincidence, and pigs really can fly.  I’ll grant 1 coincidence – maybe, but all of these “coincidences”?

The only variable is if there are enough low information voters who will, once again buy, the “Right Wing Conspiracy” theory for all of these or will believe them when they discredit the messenger and try to utterly destroy his reputation.

Maybe, but I also wonder when the ever compliant Democrats are going to find some guts and develop a bit of disgust at the Clinton’s business as usual.

DC Police Blow Up Pressure Cooker in Suspicious Car, Arrest Owner

Specifics about the contents of the pressure cooker are scarce at the moment.

From the AP via ABC 7:
A U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman says a bomb squad has safely destroyed a pressure cooker found in a "suspicious" vehicle left unattended near the Capitol building and that the vehicle's owner has been arrested.

Lt. Kimberly A. Schneider told The Associated Press by email that officers on patrol spotted the parked, unoccupied vehicle Sunday on a street on the National Mall west of the Capitol and an odor of gasoline was also detected. She says a bomb squad "disrupted the items of concern in the vehicle including the pressure cooker," producing a loud bang about 7:45 p.m.

She says the vehicle owner, Israel Shimeles of Alexandria, Virginia, was located, arrested and charged with "operating after revocation" and was being processed at Capitol Police headquarters.
The Pressure Cooker; Photo Credit: ABC 7

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Al Sharpton's Daughter Sues NYC for $5 Million for "Permanent" Ankle Injury, Then Hikes Indonesian Mountain

Something tells me that saying you have a permanent that prevents you from walking, suing a city for $5,000,000, then hiking a mountain and posting it on social media is not the smartest thing to do.

Well, Al Sharpton's daughter did literally just that:
She filed the lawsuit a week before posting the first picture below:

Her Instagram account, where she originally posted the pictures, is now private.

Cynthia McKinney: The Government is Using Vaccines to Give Black Kids Autism

In an interview discovered by Pundit Press, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney contended that vaccines give children autism. Not only that, but she believes that it is knowingly being given to black children by the government despite the fact, she says, that they are more susceptible to getting it. "It’s reminiscent of eugenics," she explained.

During the interview with San Francisco Bay View, which has an audio recording of the conversation on their website, McKinney claims to have found a conspiracy in which the CDC knowingly hushed data that shows that black children get autism from vaccines.

Citing a "whistleblower," Ms. McKinney explained, "The omitted data suggested," she said, "that African American males who received the MMR (that’s mumps, measles and rubella) vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Now, the risk was like 300 percent, I mean it was like, as he said “statistically significant.” It was huge. And basically what they did was they left that information out."

She continued, "the bottom line is this whistleblower by the name of William W. Thompson has acquired a lawyer, and on that lawyer’s website he’s posted information saying that he and the other authors of the study – there were three authors of the study – intentionally suppressed information that was statistically significant demonstrating a relationship between early administration of the MMR vaccine and Black boys – Black babies."

McKinney's "discovery" is extremely important, according to her, "because we’re talking about young children being affected for the rest of their lives because of a [vaccine] lie that was told by the CDC. Now, that’s one method. On the other level is that incidents of autism have exploded."
White people aren't nearly as effected by what she's discovered, Ms. McKinney adds, and vaccines and autism is reminiscent of controlled breeding.

"So this is something new that our community is having to cope with," she said, "and it’s reminiscent of eugenics because they knew that whatever the formula was that they were using was going to have an adverse effect on Black babies – Black male babies in particular is what they studied. But there was this adverse reaction, and they did nothing; they remained silent. It’s outrageous."

She asserts, "This is a crime. And of course, because the city of Atlanta is predominately Black, then if the CDC wants to study Black people, they have a population right here. And of course you also know that with the prison situation – there’s a preponderance of Blacks in prison – and these kinds of studies, and we don’t know what they’re doing and why are they collecting Black DNA, which is another discussion that I had on my Facebook page."

Somehow vaccines and autism relates to prisons taking your DNA if you're arrested, she continues: "Anytime you’re arrested now – it used to be upon conviction they would get your DNA, but now it’s upon arrest they get your DNA. You know I ask people, I say, “OK, you better stop this; this is being done for a reason. It’s going to come into the larger community, it’s going to come into your neighborhood if you don’t stop it from happening to Black people.”"

McKinney says she doesn't understand why the Obama Administration and the Congressional Black Caucus are silent on the issue.

In case you're wondering, Snopes reviewed the claim and labelled it irrefutably false.

Violence Surges in Baltimore; 11 Shot, 5 Killed Since Friday

From the Baltimore Sun:
Violence surged to open the Memorial Day weekend in Baltimore, with 11 people shot, five fatally, in multiple incidents, according to police reports.

A man was shot in the torso just after 11 p.m. Friday on Benkert Avenue in the St. Josephs neighborhood of southwest Baltimore. He later died at an area hospital.

Around 11:51 p.m., three people were shot, one fatally, in the 1900 block of Wilhelm Street in Carrollton Ridge, police said. One man was fatally shot in the head, a second man was suffering from a gunshot wound to his neck and, as officers were securing the scene, police say a third man was found shot at the corner of Pratt and Payson Street. The third victim was suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.

Then, on Saturday morning in the 1800 block of Edmondson Avenue in Harlem Park, in West Baltimore, a man was found around 5:40 a.m. suffering from gunshot wounds to his leg and thigh. He was transported to an area hospital for treatment, police said.
Baltimore

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Faith and morality go hand in hand

Please bear with me. The moral of this article is in the very last paragraph and sentences. It's about being moral, which we get from faith, and why we need it.

I would argue the proper definition of American Exceptionalism is that the United States was founded by the people, granting powers to a government rather than the other way around. Government is subordinate to the people as opposed to citizens being a component of the state.

The U.S. is the only country where, if you find oil under your house, it is yours, not the crown's or the government's. Thus we are the exception to the rule hence American Exceptionalism.

Underpinning this is the establishment of rights imbued to the individual by God, not by the government.

The U.S. is predicated on the idea of a moral citizenry thus enabling citizens to hold the power entrusted to them by the constitution. It is this link, between a moral citizenry arising from a religiously inspired moral structure that is explicitly under attack by the modern left.

Progressivism is an alternative moral structure designed to weaken and ultimately destroy the faith based moral structure on which our country was founded. In order to create a "new" United States, it is necessary to tear down the existing country and ripping apart the foundation is the strategy of the left. That is, eviscerate the legitimacy of morality by destroying the concept of God or a religious moral structure and then concept of a citizen guided by such a morality becomes illegitimate. This clears the path to the primacy of the government and the power that entails.

The modern Progressive eschews the idea that individuals could rightfully own oil or natural resources found on their property. In their view, those resources rightfully belong to the collective or state.

Similarly, the fruits of one's labors also belong to the state. How else to make sense of "You didn't build that" comments by President Obama? This is the end game for Progressives in their attacks on religion and morality in the public square, transferring all power to the government.

Progressives hate religion because it interferes with their decadent ideology. They are a plague who wants more sexual promiscuity, abortion, no rule of law, no morals, no integrity, and relativism where anything goes.

Most atheists are progressives and feel humans have no business believing in a higher power or God. Scientists now believe that our planet is so exceptional and unique in the universe and is very likely there is no other planet with the richness of life and order present in our planet. This raises the question of us being here for a purpose and an intelligent design.

A few weeks ago there was a column in the Wall Street Journal by Dan Henninger titled "The New Stupid Party: Democrats call Republicans the stupid party. But now, there’s dumb, and dumber."

That morning I was also reviewing Fukuyama's new book, "Political Order and Political Decay," wherein he identifies three crucial institutions of a modern state: the state itself or government and bureaucracy, the rule of law, and mechanisms of accountability. As I was reading the introductory and summarizing chapter, I got the distinct impression that he places too much emphasis on a large bureaucratic state.

Fukuyama recognizes that and closes that chapter arguing that size is not necessarily the answer, that quality is also important. "Much more important than the size of government is its quality." Moreover, there needs to be a "balance between government power and institutions that constrain the state," a subject that is very dear to me.

The reason I brought this up in the context of stupid, and again now, is that Fukuyama closes the introductory chapter by saying that "this volume will not provide any straightforward answers, and certainly not easy ones, to the question of how to improve the quality of government."

And that is the big problem, isn't it?

People like Elizabeth Warren, who was featured in Henninger’s article, and Progressives more generally, don't have any answers either, they just make promises, create more bureaucracy, and throw money at it.

My preference and that of the more conservative right is to be more humble and to err on the side of less government and let market forces and the checks-and-balances of democracy do the job. So I bring up stupid because the first step in overcoming it is to recognize that we are indeed stupid when it comes to the quality of government, that the answer doesn't lie in larger, more "scientific" solutions because we don't know what these are and the so-called experts don't know either.

All the experts have are simplistic models that help explain some things but are really helpless against the immense complexity of our society and economy.

Rules or laws are the glue that holds societies together. Some govern our everyday social relations. Others only apply to certain circumstances and types of relationships and are important only to limited groupings.

I've broken the whole mess of rules into very long term, medium and short term. The very long term rules are constituted by the moral and ethical values that have come down to us from our ancestors. These are so important and constant that they have survived the test of time and have been folded into a religion.

Because they are so important, we teach them very intensely to our children and review parts of them in formal weekly gatherings.

Then you have the medium or near long-term rules like those of our Constitution, moving down to the more short term laws, statutes and regulations passed to achieve and enforce shorter term objectives. These are always in flux and, unfortunately, expanding but it is the price we pay for social and economic progress and growth.

It would be ideal if we all knew those rules but it is obviously impossible. That alone becomes a problem because we can't follow rules we don't even know exist.

In my reading of the dynamics of social change, one highly undesirable area where rules are growing, and I believe this is the one the people object to most, are rules that substitute for the moral and ethical values we learned at the feet of our parents and the pews of our churches.

These are certainly not perfect and we know they need to keep up with the times but changing them is not as easy as changing the flow of traffic in our streets. We all know to be alert to the rules of the road in places we haven't been to before, but moral and ethical rules are very deeply embedded in our psyches since they were so insistently drummed into us already as babies.

No surprise then that the Sandra Fluke kind of moralizing from Washington is so controversial, yet in the bigger scheme of things so inconsequential, except if they lead to a society that gets its moral and ethical values from government.

The moral and ethical rules we have today were arrived at through thousands of years of trial and error. We are fools who think we can do better by a stroke of a pen or a cost-benefit analysis.

To bottom line it, it is not about one side being better than the other but about what is the best way to govern. I think it behooves conservatives to somehow get across the idea that there are no magic solutions to quality in creating new bureaucracies like, say, the Independent Payments Advisory Board, or IPAB, to manage the healthcare market, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, to keep banks from abusing consumers; that we need to be humble and recognize our limitations; that in most cases we don't even know what "quality" is; and that we should let markets, a well-functioning democratic process, and our values and morality, yes, our morality, or core laws do more of the job.

The better our core moral values, the fewer imperfect and often low quality government-made laws and regulations we will need.

Senate Does Not Extend Patriot Act

From CBS News:
The Senate struggled unsuccessfully to prevent an interruption in critical government surveillance programs early Saturday, blocking a House-passed bill and several short-term extensions of the USA Patriot Act.

The main stumbling block was a House-passed provision, called the USA Freedom Act, to end the National Security Agency's bulk collection of domestic phone records. Instead, the records would remain with telephone companies subject to a case-by-case review.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., favored retaining the program, but fellow Kentuckian Rand Paul, a Republican presidential contender, blocked any extension, no matter how brief, past the midnight May 31 expiration.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Emails Show Reporter Grabbed Hillary Clinton's Knee, Asked if she can "Ride in Her Lap to the White House"

Among other information revealed today from previously secret emails involving Hillary Clinton, one of the oddest facts was that Wall Street Journal reporter Monica Langley asked Ms. Clinton what she dreams about and if she could "ride" in her lap.

The email was sent by Caroline Adler, who worked on Ms. Clinton's staff. In it, she describes an extremely weird beginning to an interview between Ms. Langley and Secretary Clinton.

Ms. Adler writes that Langley got uncomfortably close to Clinton, and, midway through the interview, grabbed her knee, and asked her what she dreams about.

She then leaned in and asked, "Hill, can I ride in your lap to the White House?"

You can read the email below:

The email was sent on October 11, 2012. Adler was clearly aware how strange the interaction was, as she began her email ironically, "This will be exciting when it's FOIA'd."

Editor's Note: The headline above says that the reporter asked to "ride in" Ms. Clinton's lap. The reporter actually asked to "ride on" Ms. Clinton's lap. We regret the error, small though it is.