Thursday, March 30, 2017
Is There A Road To Mideast Peace? Reality Vs. Fiction
Bookworm Beat 3/29/17 — web design and teaching an old dog new tricks
Japan’s New Growth Industry – Gigolos And Male Escort Clubs For Women
Has Sen. Chuck Schumer's Own Racist History Comes Back To Bite Him?
A Clockwork Orange Revisited
President Trump Signs House Joint Resolution 37, 44, 57 and 58
The real Obama legacy (and it's worse than Obamacare)
The Political Parties Are An Illusion Designed To “Relegate The Governed To A Position Barely Above That Of Cattle”
The Glock 43: A Svelte Companion
Purveyor of "Hands Up Don't Shoot" Lie Goes Hollywood
The real Obama legacy (and it’s worse than Obamacare)
Why were Conservatives left out of writing Ryancare?
The Bookworm Beat 3/27/17 — the living in a world of lies edition and open thread
Identifying With Satan
Forum: Was There Illegal Surveillance Of Trump’s Team? If So, Should There Be Criminal Prosecution?
On immigration, the Left has two dishonest arguments that need clarifying
Monday, March 27, 2017
Every week on Monday, the WoW! staff, community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question:Was There Illegal Surveillance Of Trump's Team? If So, Should There Be Criminal Prosecution?
Micheal McDaniel: Was there illegal surveillance of Donald Trump? Is the Pope Catholic? Do bears defecate in the woods? Are congressional Republicans the Stupid Party?
Before definitively answering, let’s examine some unquestionable facts. Barack Obama is the product of the Chicago political machine. He thinks like a sociopathic, narcissistic thug. Whatever he desires must be his, and ethics, law, morality, decency or consideration of damage to others does not enter into it. He spent eight years weaponizing the entire federal bureaucracy, from the Department of Justice to the FBI, IRS, EPA, every agency and department of the federal government, including every facet of the intelligence “community.” His radical leftist agents are everywhere, and they are more than willing to do his bidding; that’s why they’re there.
Embarrassing evidence of criminal acts under court order for preservation at the IRS? Ooops! Sorry your honor, it somehow got erased! It’s nobody’s fault, really… Americans murdered by terrorists due to gross Obamite incompetence? Lie about it, and lie about lying about it. Constitution get in the way of progressive whims? I’ve got a pen and a phone!
We now know Obamite agents, those out of government and those still embedded in the government, are covertly and overtly doing all they can, with the help of a corrupt and amoral media, to destroy Donald Trump and his administration, and any collateral damage, like national security, the Constitution, and American’s trust in government, is of no concern to them. They believe they’re immune from consequences, and they’ll always come out on top.
And we also know, at the least, some of Trump’s transition team were “inadvertently” caught up in surveillance of foreign agents, diplomats, etc. We also know the names of such people were released to the media by Obamite agents, including potentially high-ranking intelligence officials. We know such actions are, in fact, illegal. We also know, if we’re honest, it’s highly likely Donald Trump was right. He was being “wiretapped.”
But he wasn’t actually “wiretapped.” Probably not, but he wasn’t suggesting someone actually attached wires to telephone pairs to overhear his conversations. That’s old technology, but Trump is of an age where “wiretapping” is a generic term for all manner of electronic surveillance. In the same way, when I speak of replaying a chapter of a DVD, I invariably say “rewind,” because I’m so used to thinking of VHS technology, though I haven’t owned a VHS tape for years.
We’re not absolutely sure, as in having crystal clear video and sworn documentary evidence, that Mr. Trump was the direct subject of surveillance, or that Mr. Obama ordered it. What we can be reasonably sure of is the same Obamite agents that violated federal law to unmask innocent citizens associated with Donald Trump, would absolutely tell Mr. Obama what they found and what they were doing. Oh, they may not tell him directly, face to face, but they would tell his acolytes, who would tell him. Plausible deniability, you know.
We can also be reasonably sure that Mr. Obama did not directly tell anyone to “wiretap” Mr. Trump or anyone else. It would have been entirely unnecessary. At best, he might have said something like “will no one rid me of this troublesome Trump?” One doesn’t weaponize the entire federal bureaucracy without expecting such criminal minds to engage unbidden in whatever dirty deeds are necessary for the furtherance of the holy progressive cause. That’s why they’re there. Even if such surveillance were incidental, no one had to tell Obamite operatives to use that information to the detriment of Donald Trump.
Would Barack Obama and his minions want to have had intimate knowledge of everything Trump was up to? Would they have violated the law to gain that information? Would they have given a damn about violating the law? Does any rational person really need answers to those questions?
Something else to consider is the silence of Barack Obama and most of his toadies regarding this situation, as well as a warning from one of his former lackeys to be careful about saying no wiretapping of Trump was done. Has Obama ever been silent about such things? Has he ever hesitated to lecture, accuse, berate and lie about anything? Is it possible he might be lying low, hoping his agents remaining in government can still destroy evidence and still protect him? Or is he merely scheming, waiting for that evidence to be destroyed, only then to resurface and taunt the American people to prove him a criminal?
And what of the FBI, which is, at last report, refusing to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee? Can the FBI be trusted anymore, or has it been coopted by Obamites?
Should violations of federal law be discovered and provable, everyone involved must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Absent that, we will have devolved to a banana republic, where some people are immune from prosecution, and able to violate the law at will. We may not be far from that already.
Don Surber : It was legal. It was wrong.
JoshuaPundit: This involved something Barack Obama's presidency was noted for...weaponizing government agencies like the EPA,DOJ and IRS among others and using them against his 'political enemies.'
If this wasn't illegal,then neither was Watergate. It also involved a government using surveillance against political opposition in an election year. One big difference - Nixon was unaware of the Watergate mess until after it happened, while Barack Obama almost certainly was. That's why just before the end of his presidency, Obama issued an executive order allowing massive, open distribution of the transcripts of the surveillance on the Trump transition team and on the president elect himself.
Moreover, such transcripts are supposed to be redacted by law. These weren't, and in fact were passed on to a helpful media.
As I mentioned here, the BBC documented and reported on how the Obama Administration gamed FISA requirements to get a warrant after two failed attempts. They accomplished this illegal act by placing the entire case as a FISA case (probably under Sally Yates at DOJ) as a “foreign” case, and then omitted Trump’s name from the third request for a surveillance warrant submitted to the FISA court, which the court unwittingly granted.
It's a major felony under section 1809 of the FISA laws for anyone to either perform electronic surveillance under “color of law” under FISA or to disclose or use the information gathered from it. If these transcripts were leaked to the helpful press as they obviously were, that's another serous felony.
Misusing the FISA system when foreign intelligence is NOT involved is another felony. So is perjury or conspiracy to commit perjury when it comes to say, testimony in congress used to falsely accuse Attorney general Jeff Sessions.
Now since we've answered the illegality question, should it be prosecuted? Of course it should, but there are obstacles.
President Trump will have to get Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special prosecutor. On of Bill Clinton's last gifts to the country was to abolish the formerly independent Special Prosecutor's office and make it part of the Department of Justice under the U.S. Attorney General's total control.
Assuming the special prosecutor finds a few John Dean style rats willing to avoid prison by testifying (Loretta Lynch, Sally Yates, John Brennan and a number of 'journalists' would be good places to start) the political feedback has to be calculated. And that could be troublesome.
If the trial of evidence leads back to Barack Obama, there could be other matters that come out regarding IRSGate, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the president using Mrs. Clinton's illegal server with a pseudonym and a number of other matters. What then?
Since Barack Obama is no longer president, he no longer has any legal immunity and the question of getting votes to impeach him is moot. But he was the historic first black president. So President Trump would face an unusual dilemma. He can pardon the former president. That would lead to widespread disgust from his supporters that could very well doom his re-election as it did Gerald Ford's, and lead to a national cynicism about the rule of law at a time when it's already rampant.
Or he could choose to try Obama and convict him. No matter the evidence, that choice would have the media in hysterics, calls for open rebellion and
Imagine his attitude after spending a few years in prison.
The third choice would be to simply expose these matters, prosecute and imprison the aiders and abettors (including those 'journalists' ) and let the American people know the truth about what happened. That's the choice I'd expect President Trump to make.
Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason : There is enough smoke to believe there was illegal surveillance of Trump’s team at Trump Tower. Congress should pursue exposing who was involved in this surveillance; who authorized it and who carried out those orders. Those individuals should be prosecuted and if found guilty should be sentenced to the maximum extent the law allows. Those working in our intelligence community should be held to the highest standards their positions demand. We seem to have too many political ideologues working in what are supposed to be apolitical positions.
Before President Obama left office one of his final executive actions introduced new rules that allow the NSA to share private data gathered without a warrant, court order, or congressional authorization with sixteen agencies within the intelligence community; including DHS, FBI, and DEA. This rule permits employees in these intelligence agencies to sift through raw data collected by the NSA. Prior to this the NSA would share information but only after filtering out irrelevant material and masking the names of innocent American citizens. How many innocent Americans are having their private and personal communications shared among employees in these intelligence agencies?
With these new rules President Obama lit a fuse before he left the White House. Our legislators must act in a non-political bipartisan manner to assure this private information remains private and is never publicly shared. Our intelligence community must understand the gravity of their positions and if they fail to honor their oaths of office they will be dealt with harshly and prosecuted to the fullest extent the law allows.
Make sure to drop by every Monday for the WoW! Magazine Forum. And enjoy WoW! Magazine 24-7 with some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere. Take from me, you won't want to miss it.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Every week on Monday, the WoW! staff, community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question:What Would Real Healthcare Reform Look Like?
Don Surber: The perfect health plan would leave it to the states. Medicaid would end. I'd keep Medicare because we paid into it and it's an inviolable promise to those 65 and older (I am 63). The marketplace would make health care better and cheaper, especially if we eliminated third-party payer.
But we won't agree on the perfect plan, and so we compromise. The following need to be included in the repeal-and-replace: 1. End the mandate for employers. 2. End the mandate for individuals. 3. End subsidies by 2020 (you have to give people time to adjust). 4. Finish the legislation by July 31 to give insurers time to prepare plans for next year. The open season begin in October.
My advice to conservatives is to understand there will be compromise, not because the people who oppose you are evil, but because they see things different, know things you don't know, and don't know things that you know.
As Bob Dylan sang:
"We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point Of view
Tangled up in blue"
Rob Miller: While I would generally agree that the less government in healthcare the better, c'mon. I live in the real world and it ain't gonna happen. Too many people want the government gimmees and the lollypops. And too many of our politicians are just tickled to give it to them. If you want to know the real reason why so many of our politicos want the status quo, or something close to it, the reason is dead simple, and you can read it here and see if you don't agree.
Two dirty words no one in DC wants to mention and the additional fact that illegal migrants are bleeding the system white are exactly why our healthcare system is in such dire straits now, and why the cost of care keeps skyrocketing.
And I think we can forget about the states being involved. A number of them like Illinois and California are essentially bankrupt and inept on top of it. California's Governor Jerry Brown actually wants to spend billions putting together a kind of universal healthcare in California. This is roughly the equivalent of a couple living from paycheck to paycheck with serious debt to deal with deciding that hey, this would be a great time to buy a boat! And maybe a summer house by the beach! And do we need to mention how many of Illinois's governors have ended up in jail?
Putting healthcare in hands like these would be like putting a sex offender in charge of a girl's school. It would not end well.
If the feds are actually going to handle healthcare, ( and the Ryan Plan is nothing less than that) maybe we might as well go government mandated. There's at least one system I'm familiar with that's mandated and it's one of the top rated healthcare systems in the world. And they managed to keep the virtues of competition and free choice intact while keeping care both affordable, efficient and high quality. We could mimic that, but to get anything remotely like their kind of results, we'd have to change a few things that would not resonate well with a number of members of the political class.
Dick the Butcher in ''Henry VI'' may have been on to something, present company excluded.
Mike McDaniel : In “repealing and replacing” Obamacare, Republicans, once again--still--are demonstrating why they so richly deserve the title: “the stupid party.” Oh no, they say, we can’t just dump Obamacare. Why not? How did America survive before Obamacare? As I recall--it was only about seven years ago--people that wanted health insurance had it. It was much cheaper, there were more choices, and deductibles didn’t render it impossible to use. There were more doctors, and much happier doctors, and no one was dying in the streets. One thing that has not changed is that hospital emergency rooms can’t turn people away. No matter how poor you are, they have to treat you.
Somehow, Republicans seem unable to understand this, or to speak about it.
As I also recall, merely having insurance has never meant having access to health care. They’re not the same thing.
Somehow, Republicans seem unable to understand this, or to speak about it.
Obamacare can and must be dumped, entirely, every word, every bit of punctuation. Unless we do that, unless we repeal the entire 2000+ page abomination, everything else is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. No one is going to be dying in the streets, though no one will ever know that if they’re waiting for Republicans, particularly the feckless Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell to tell them.
What would real healthcare reform look like? Basically what Donald Trump has said it should be:
*Erase state lines, allowing companies to sell policies everywhere.
*Get the federal government completely out of it. Want to drain swamps? Getting rid of Obamacare is a great place to start.
*Allow insurance to be portable. Make it possible for people changing careers or jobs the option to take it with them.
*Allow people to band together in larger groups to take advantage of lower rates.
*High risk pools are entitlements, not insurance. If government wants to take that on, don’t urinate on our heads and tell us it’s insurance. But why not? We’re already racing headlong for the fiscal cliff on the high speed rail to nowhere? What’s another trillion or two?
*Allow people to buy any kind of policy they want. No maternity care for men, no prostate surgery benefits for women. If a young, fit, healthy 20-something wants only low-cost insurance for medical catastrophes, have at it.
There are other issues that could be helpful, including rescinding regulations that drive up the cost of drugs and make it almost impossible to bring new life-saving drugs and treatments to market. Deregulating the medical profession and easing the paperwork burden would be enormously helpful too, but that’s a topic for another forum.
The less government, at every level, has its fingers in patient’s medical charts, the better off everyone will be.
Bookworm Room : I don't have anything intelligent to offer on the subject. I believe in the free market, which has been non-existent since health insurance's inception, when employers offered insurance as a way to circumvent wage controls during WWII. In the decades since then, the health insurance market has been corrupted even further thanks to thousands of federal and state regulations. It's been further corrupted by government price controls over fees and pharmaceuticals.
There's also the market perversion inherent in the fact that the consumer is not responsible for paying the provider so the consumer has no incentive to price shop -- which is hard to do in any event when medicine can be so specialized that the consumer may lack the ability to measure the quality of goods and services versus the price. Add in the fact that the consumer's demands are often on an emergency basis and you end up with a situation that challenges the free market's flow of information and openness to negotiation.
So while I see the problems, I don't see solutions. I just know that socialized medicine never benefits the consumer and that ObamaCare didn't benefit anybody at all. My instinct would be to take all that money the government shuffles around and return it to consumers in the form of an individual "health care savings account." Consumers could than make choices about whether they want to hoard the money (making themselves their own insurers) or invest in insurance that would be offered on a nationwide, rather than statewide, basis. I suspect that would a free market, there would be a lot of affordable options.
States could keep skin in the game by having websites that insurance companies based upon whether they meet metrics each state desperately wishes it could impose on insurers. I know that I have Progressive friends who would never dream of buying insurance from Texas because it lacks the regulatory control California imposes -- never mind that those regulations traditionally trebled the cost.
The Razor: I am a borderline anarchist on the subject.
The US healthcare system is so screwed up I feel like the only solution is to (rhetorically of course) burn it to the ground.
At this point I would take almost any other system than the one we have. Canada. Singapore. Israel.
Let’s outsource the problem to the Japanese I’m sure they’d come up with something better.
Honestly I am so angry with both parties on the topic because they have no clue as to how bad the situation is.
Nuke it from orbit and start over.
Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason : Since Obamacare was forced on the American people we conservatives worked hard to elect Republican candidates who promised us nothing less than full repeal of Obamacare. After seven years we have secured Republican majorities in the House, Senate and now in the Executive Office. It is extremely disappointing to hear the reforms being proposed such as the “three buckets” of legislation, and the excuses of how this cannot be done all at once. They have had seven years to perfect a good plan to withdraw us off of Obamacare and return health insurance and health care into the hands of the people, doctors, insurance companies, and the free market. We have fought too long and hard to see these promises not kept by our elected and “trusted” servants.
One thing we have learned, for those who didn’t consider or realize it before; health insurance is not health care. Many middle class people have experienced premiums and deductibles so high they can never afford to see a doctor. We are being told that premiums will not go down with what is being proposed and that in fact some will see their premiums continue to rise.
Anytime government gets involved with such issues it distorts the system. The mandates for coverage and no co-pay requirements for such things as well woman visits should be eliminated. What happens is the government sets the mandates and insurance companies have to comply even though complying makes it impossible to make a profit. So the government promises the insurance companies they will be compensated for their losses and guarantee profits for a period of time through subsidies. Whether the insurance company collects revenue from the individual paying the insurance premium, or the government subsidizes the insurance company to assure they can turn a profit, it is all coming from us. Any law that harms even one person is not a just law, and Obamacare has hurt too many people. The Supreme Court was wrong in its decision when it ruled this law constitutional.
It seems like things were much better when we paid a reasonable premium for coverage we chose which met our needs and our budgets. If we wanted more coverage or lower deductibles or co-pays we paid a premium for that. If we chose to carry a catastrophic policy only and pay the rest of our medical costs out of pocket that was also an option.
Get government out of the health care business and return it to the free market. The laws should be lifted that insist on mandated coverages even when people do not need or want them. Allow insurance to be purchased across state lines. Make insurance more competitive.
Congress should put the repeal on Trumps’ desk that they put on Obama’s desk. This is what we elected them to do.
Well. there it is.
Make sure to drop by every Monday for the WoW! Magazine Forum. And enjoy WoW! Magazine 24-7 with some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere. Take from me, you won't want to miss it.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
I've been watching with interest the back and forth over healthcare reform. My good friend Bookworm has a great article on the subject you should read.
But having taken a look at this, it does seem to me that the Republicans, as usual, are trying to win by avoiding being cast in the media as mean nasty villains robbing people of something. And after all, if you can spend other people's money and look good...
Although of course, they won't look good no matter what they do to the Democrat's trained seal media. You'd think they would have gotten a clue by now!
Far better to concentrate on real policy and do it right, no? And let the results be the judge.
Insurance is what I call a 'projection' industry, where fortune tellers known as actuaries crunch numbers and determine the rates on policies and on investments known as insurance contracts as far in advance as possible. Forced instantaneous hope n' change like ObamaCare hits insurance companies with a sucker punch and costs them a lot of money - which of course, like any other business they pass on to their customers.
What's going on in DC now is ridiculous. If the GOP puts together some kind of bogus ObamaCare lite entitlement and President Trump signs it, it will be the first campaign promise he's broken. I'm pretty sure cooler heads will prevail and there will be significant changes made to what we have now.
This is exactly why I said in an earlier article, that the first thing that needed to be done by President Trump, together with Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was to have have immediately announced the repeal of ObamaCare, especially the individual mandate penalty and named a date in the near future - say, November 10th, 2017 or whatever - when it will no longer be in effect.
Aside from assuring the American people they weren't being screwed again, it would give congress a clearly established a deadline to thrash out the new legislation and it would have allowed insurance companies some badly needed lead in time to plan for ObamaCare's demise.
And a demise, it must be. ObamaCare is so flawed, so thrown together without common sense that trying to build something viable using its parts is a fool's errand.It was garbage to begin with, a tax scam rather than anything to do with healthcare.
But what next? Where should we go with healthcare? Incredibly, there are two dirty words that nobody is mentioning. And there's a really good reason why...
Those dirty words? T O R T R E F O R M! Say it again, with feeling....T O R T R E F O R M !!
Keep this in mind.. when someone is chattering away in wonkspeak about healthcare, mandates, health savings accounts and the like, unless they're mentioning those two dirty words they're simply blowing smoke up your nether regions.
Ask any health professional about what their biggest fear is. I've asked quite a few, and the answer is almost always predatory lawsuits. Have you ever gotten one of those official looking letters -actually calling them advertisements is more appropriate - asking you to sign on to a large class action suit against an HMO or hospital? Sure you have. The result of this trolling is almost always a fortune for the lawyers in fees and a pittance for the rubes who signed up as part of the 'class' if they mange to win and get a judgement. Even if they lose, their target spends big dollars in legal fees, or rather their malpractice insurance company does. After which the insurance company jacks up their premiums.
Picture yourself as a young American doctor. You're already carrying six figures in student loan debt. And on top of that, depending on whether you're a GP or a specialist and depending on where you're practicing the usual rates for malpractice insurance run from just under $30,000 per year to six figures in the pricier areas.
Aside from the ever rising cost of malpractice insurance, this fear of predatory lawyers also pads the price of healthcare by causing repetitive paperwork and staff work and many unnecessary and repetitive activities, even on routine medical procedures.
No doctor or institution should be allowed to get away with malpractice, and the medical profession actually does a fairly decent job of weeding put bad actors. But unless the current barrage of lawsuits is brought under control and some reasonable guidelines established, the cost of medical care is going to continue to increase. There are simply far too many lawyers, and far too many unnecessary lawsuits targeting the medical profession and healthcare institutions.
So why is no one mentioning this? So simple! Ask yourself this...what did most of the members of congress do for a living before they became congressmen? What do many of them do for a living when they leave? Why, they're lawyers of course. And even while they're in congress, a number of them receive an income from law firms they have a partnership interest in. As lawyers, let's just say that many of them are reluctant to cut off a steady stream of income for the profession if not for themselves. And as we all know, law firms also contribute a lot of money to legislators who see things their way. That's why a lot of what Senator Rand Paul has to say on healthcare sounds so sensible. He's a medical doctor,not a lawyer. We'll come back to this point later, but keep it in mind.
Another ongoing problem I haven't heard mentioned in this debate is illegal migrants. Their effect on the cost of healthcare is a lot more insidious. In California and some other states with large illegal migrant populations, many of them are on Medic-Aid, because no one checks too closely about insignificant details like citizenship.In fact, there are actual privacylaws in California that prohibit and cross checking, so the system is almost set up for fraud. Fake social security numbers or EIN's are also used quite a bit.
Another common occurrence is the abuse of ER facilities. If an illegal migrant working as a day laborer hurts himself on a construction site, he'll go to the nearest hospital emergency room for treatment. Since legally and humanely he needs to be treated, he is. And when it comes to payment, a quick discussion between the migrant and the hospital staff makes it very clear that this one is going to be a freebie. So the hospital eats it. King-Drew Medical Center in South Los Angeles was bankrupted by this type of patient, and I doubt they're the only ones who were, or who at least suffered major losses financially.
Tort reform and dealing with our huge illegal migrant problem are essential to stopping the spiraling cost of healthcare and repairing the damage ObamaCare caused. So is actual competition across state lines. And actual freedom of choice, dammit!
Keep these simple concepts in the above paragraph in mind.
Apparently a number of Americans like the idea of keeping young adults of 26 and under on their healthcare policies if they're still lucky enough to be able to have one. And they like the idea being able to get insurance with preconditions without paying for them. It's become exactly what Rand Paul said it is, a new entitlement.
Believe it or not, there is one healthcare system I know about that is government mandated, but also embraces all the of the concepts I've mentioned for real reform. After all, if we're going tohave ObamaCare Lite courtesy of Paul Ryan, why not?
Israel never really planned government run mandatory healthcare, but they were more or less forced into it by circumstances. After 1948, they had a large segment of their population who were 'graduates' of the concentration camps as well as almost a million Jewish refugees who arrived there penniless after being ethnically cleansed from the Arab world. So a nationwide healthcare system was cobbled together. And it works quite well. Why?
- Israel has a very small illegal migrant problem. And thanks to the border walls, it's even smaller now. They don't have tons of illegal migrants bankrupting the system.
- The ideas of competition and freedom of choice are maintained. While the government oversees and finances part of the system,it doesn't micromanage it itself or insist that everyone have cookie cutter insurance. There are four different carriers (essentially, HMOs), all of whom compete with each other for members and have different plusses,minuses and 'specialties,' by which I mean a reputation for excelling in particular kinds of care or having better rates for certain extras or different copays and levels of coverage. All Israeli citizens get the basic plan the government subsidizes.If you want extras in certain areas, you buy them from your insurance carrier, so you have the ability to shop. On the flip side, you're not paying for something that's of no use for you, like maternal care for an elderly couple past childbearing age. Preconditions aren't an issue because everyone has to have insurance. The National Health Insurance Law guarantees all Israeli citizens access to one of the four carriers, and the right to transfer between the carriers once per year.
- Tort reform is not a problem since not only does Israel lack the litigious climate lawyers have fostered here in America (at least, so far) but lawyers also aren't coming out of the woodwork there as they are in America. And at present, lawyers don't constitute any kind of majority in Israel's Knesset. The ratio of doctors to lawyers in Israel is about the opposite of what it is here.And the level of care, even private care is so high quality and reasonably priced compared to the EU and America that medical tourism is common. Med school is also cheaper, and Israel offers special incentives for medical professionals who want to become olim (Jewish migrants to israel under the Law of the Return).
Does it work? In a survey of 48 countries in 2013, Israel's healthcare system was ranked fourth in the world in terms of efficiency, and in 2014 it ranked seventh out of 51. In 2015, Israel was ranked sixth-healthiest country in the world by Bloomberg rankings and eighth in terms of life expectancy.
So it can be done. But major tort reform,getting rid of a substantial number of illegal migrants and fostering competition and freedom of choice for consumers is what it takes. That, and creating a lot more doctors, medical researchers and personnel as well as a lot less lawyers.
Far easier said then done, but doable.
Rob Miller writes for Joshuapundit. His articles have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle, Real Clear Politics, The Times Of Israel, Breitbart.Com and other publications.
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is one of the leaders of Europe's anti EU, nationalist movement. Orbán led the Hungarians in defying the EU and not allowing unlimited Muslim 'refugees' into their country. As Viktor Orbán reminds his listeners, Hungary has historical experience on what that sort of thing means at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.
Every year on March 15, Hungarians celebrate the anniversary of their Revolution of 1848, when Hungary fought Austria in an attempt to gain its independence. The Hungarians almost won, but Austria was able to subdue them with help from the Russian Empire. Hungarian autonomy was finally achieved in 1867, when the Austrian Empire became the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Hungary was given equal status.
This is a speech Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gave on March 15 to honor the revolutionaries of 1848, and to draw parallels with that time and what is happening in Europe today. And while some of the references referred to may not be immediately apparent, this is a speech worth hearing.
The Magyars referred to are the ancient tribe of Hungarians who founded the Kingdom of Hungary after migrating west from the Urals. They remain the predominant element of the population of Hungary today.
All credit to CrossWare for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the English subtitles.
Dammitt. Chuck Berry just passed away at 90 years of age 'after 'an illness' as the press likes to put it. Once he finally stopped performing about 5 or 6 years ago, I figured it wouldn't be too much longer.
That legendary vitality of his finally wore down.
Almost all of the old rockn'rollers have passed on to that Great Concert in the Sky, and when they're gone something unique will have gone with them.There's always was an ageless quality to Berry, something about that old spine and leg catharsis that still seemed young, powerful and ageless. Jerry Lee has it too and now in his eighties, he's pretty much just what he always said he'd be...the last man standing.
Two personal memories of Chuck Berry...two sides of the same coin.
A hot, humid summer night on the road, checking into a hotel in the Midwest, the name and exact place lost in the memory banks. Not a roach hole or a five star, but the sort of moderately priced place you stay at if you're on tour and trying to keep the costs down.
And who should I see checking out and headed towards the door with a guitar case and a small, black, travel bag in hand but Chuck Berry.
I'd seem his show a few times, so I walked over, ascertained that it really was him, and introduced myself politely. I told him what band I was playing with and made a remark about how much I loved his music. The response? "Thanks, kid" and then out the door..no smile, no chit chat, no handshake, no nuthin'. It was as if I had insulted him somehow, it was that detached and frigid.
I shrugged, and went back to the hotel desk.
Take two...a night at the Aquarius theater in Hollywood, at a filming of the old TV show, 'In Concert'. I was there courtesy of a backstage pass from the manager of one of the eminently forgettable bands set to be filmed that night, some of them with actual records on the radio.
Loads of roadies and plenty of heavy duty equipment. Marshall stacks, huge drumsets, big hair, flashpots and pyrotechnics, nubile young ladies checking out the bulges in the spandex, a slight smell of marijuana in the air, schmoozing and those little white lines laid out backstage...a typical concert scene for the times.
One by one, the bands came on, did their shtick, and they all got a nice, enthusiastic response from the crowd.
And then out walked a fifty-ish Chuck Berry...one small Fender Twin amp, one guitar, and just like always, an obvious pickup band consisting of a bass player and a drummer, probably hired for scale from the local union for that night's show.
What happened next was sheer magic.
Chuck checked his tuning..and then he did one of those metallic signature intros to 'Johnny B. Goode', and the left foot came down.
Within ten minutes, he had the whole theater shaking, literally.
Most of that night's audience were probably still in diapers or not even born when most of the songs he played that night first came out. And I'd bet a lot of them didn't even know who he was. But there was something magically seminal about it that just connected, something dangerous, sexy and energizing that settled over the audience like a cloud.
Security tried to keep people from crowding the area in front of the stage and dancing in the aisles, but it was a losing battle and they just gave up after awhile. And me, I just stood in the wings, watched, listened and marveled.
This was the true, anarchistic spirit of rock 'n roll unleashed and it didn't sound like an oldies show in the least..it sounded new, wild and untamed, and I could catch a glimpse of how it must have hit the teenyboppers at places like the old Brooklyn Paramount right between the eyes back when Chuck, Jerry Lee, Buddy and Elvis laid it on them in the fifties.
One guy, a guitar, an amp and a two man rhythm section. It was perfect. The original Brown Eyed Handsome Man en extremis. I can only imagine what he was like in the 1950's.
He finished and walked right by me and I just nodded and smiled. He kind of jerked his head at me in acknowledgement, but I learn quick, so I wasn't about to say anything more.
The band that appeared after Chuck Berry finished with that crowd looked positively tired and ill by comparison. They just seemed glad to just get the whole ordeal over with. A real, actual case of the rockin' pneumonia and the boogie woogie flu perhaps, and I betcha it wasn't the first time Chuck Berry gave that particular version of the disease to somebody scheduled to follow him on stage.
I have a soundboard tape of what went down that night, and it's one of the things I still crank up and listen to when I want to remember what real live rockn'roll sounds like.
So long, Chuck. Rest in Peace, and thanks for the music.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
The results are in on the Dutch elections.Geert Wilders will likely not be the Netherlands next prime minister. And while EU loving, Muslim refugee friendly politicians like German Chancellor Angela Merkel are claiming this as a victory, it's a very temporary one at best if at all.
The end results showed the present PM Mark Rutte's Liberal Party (VVD) with the most seats at 33, giving him first shot at forming the new coalition. That was actually a net loss of 8 seats. And doesn't Rutte look trustworthy?
In second place was Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party (PVV) ended up with 20 seats, a gain of 5. As Wilders himself tweeted, "We were the 3rd largest party of the Netherlands. Now we are the 2nd largest party. Next time we will be nr. 1!"
The most significant result had to do with the defeat of the ruling coalition as a whole. VVD's main partner, the Labour Party (PvdA) lost 19 seats, more than 75% of its total presence in the chamber.At only 9 seats, they aren't enough to give Rutte a governing coalition of 76 seats.
Rutte could try to put something together with Labour, D66 ( best described a 'centrists' who are also social liberals) and CDA (Christen-Democratisch Appèl) a center right party which would give Rutte and VVD 80 seats. But that would involve putting an extremely disparate group together and a lot of serious horse trading, since without CDA and D66 there's no shot at a coalition by Rutte. Whichmeans that if either of those parties won't play ball, the only alternative is Wilders and PVV. Or a coalition with the Green/Red party (10 seats), Labour (9),and the Socialists (14 seats) and who knows who else to get him to the magic number of 76. It would be an incredibly fragile coalition. And if Rutte fails, it's the turn of Wilders and PVV.
Why did Wilders fall short?
My impression of a great many Dutch is that they while they can be shockingly direct in private, as a society they value complacency, the status quo and ‘niceness.’ They don’t particularly care for upset or contention.
Geert Wilders simply demanded too much for many of them, so they went with what they saw as a safer, less damading choice. Of course, it isn’t, but then again you can’t say Wilders didn’t make significant progress. His party gained some seats and got a lot of votes, especially in Muslim dominated Rotterdam, believe it or not.
Had he toned down things just a little, just a smidge and not picked a fistfight with Rudde, he might be looking at being part of the coalition, with a strong voice on much of what he wanted to accomplish. In any event, as Wilders himself said, he’s not going away. And he may end up being part of the governing coalition anyway, with Rutte swallowing his bile in order to form the coalition he needs. He may have to turn to Wilders in the end after all...especially since ignoring the second largest part would seem 'not proper' to a lot of the Dutch, a denial of the consensus they prize.
I also wouldn’t count Europe out quite yet. The UK appears to be s-l-o-w-l-y coming to its senses, Denmark looks to be electing an populist right wing government and the Visograd nations in the east are solid. And then, there’s Marine Le Pen.
Erdogan’s antics are also causing a lot of people to do some thinking, especially as Turkey has the largest conventional army in Europe. The more things change...well, you know the rest of that one!
President Trump's revised travel ban has been blocked by two far left Obama appointed federal judges in deep Blue states. One of them was actually one of Obama's classmates at Harvard and a good friend of our former president.
Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii and Judge Theodore Chung in Maryland decided to block Trump's clearly legal temporary travel ban on the most spurious of grounds. Regardless on how carefully this was formulated and how much in accordance it is with clearly stated Federal law, both judges (who appear to have communicated between themselves based on the wording of their opinions) somehow found that the new travel ban violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Since the ban doesn't mention religion at all (and all the countries, while predominantly Muslim have significant non-Muslim minorities) these obscene swine in black robes relied not on the substance of the president's executive order, but on their personal interpretation of statements the president made on the campaign trail. They are literally willing to roll the dice and risk the lives of Americans in order to play politics. And rest assured, these so-called judges would be the first to rule in favor of violating that establishment cause by forcing Catholic institutions to pay for abortificants or to harshly penalize a baker of a florist for the heinous crime of refusing to participate in a same sex marriage because of their religious beliefs. Nor did they say a thing about President Obama's travel ban, which was identical to President trump's original executive order.
Here's the president responding to this idiocy in a rally held, appropriately at the Hermitage in Nashville, Tennessee...the home of former President Andrew Jackson. Old Hickory would have undoubtedly approved:
While this judicial overreach will be overturned, it will take literally months before the Supreme Court does so. And in that interval, thousands of unvettable refugees from countries with clear ties to terrorism can be allowed into America.
Based on his remarks, President Trump was all for going with the first travel ban to the Supreme Court, since it was likewise perfectly legal, something I suggested at the time. Between now and when the Supreme Court makes its ruling, the president should immediately suspend all funding and all activity involving the Refugee Resettlement Program, which uses taxpayer dollars to bring refugees form the most anti-Semitic and misogynist countries in the world and settle them in the heartland, complete with green cards, subsidized housing,healthcare and EBT cards.
And what if the President simply decides to defy the court order and proceed anyway? He might be sued,but would a lawsuit be successful? I doubt it, and in any case by the time it gets to court, a Supreme Court decision would make the matter moot.
As former president Andrew Jackson once famously said, "The judges have made their decision. Now let them enforce it."
Additionally, these rogue, Obama appointed judges should be removed by impeachment by Congress, both houses of which are now controlled by Republicans. Or, under the Good Behavior Clause of Article III of the Constitution by way of a writ of scire facias filed before a federal court. If the Left can do judge shopping, so can President Trump. It's time these judges realized there's a cost for being such obviousl political animals and engaging in partisan lawfare and obstruction of justice.
There is no executive order from President Trump, no matter how legal and no matter how common sense that the Left and their judges will not obstruct and oppose. It's time to go on offense.
Friday, March 10, 2017
And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword....And the Lord said unto Moses, "Write this for a memorial in the book and tell it unto the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven..the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation."- Exodus 17:14
That's the way the Big Boys talked in the old days,when conversations with the Lord were commonplace and Amalek and his pals were freely labeled as the rabid dogs they were for picking off stragglers, attacking and killing Jews out of hand just for the pure sport and profit of it as the Jews moved through the desert after leaving Pharaoh's Egypt. No illusions there...you have to defeat evil, not negotiate with it. G-d said so,and He most likely knew what He was talking about.In any event He'd been right enough times so that Moses, Aaron and Joshua weren't about to argue the point.They defeated Amalek and then proceeded on their way in peace.
Nowadays, the UN would be thumping for a state for Amalek and shrugging off the murder of Jewish women and children as 'resistance'. And giving them millions in foreign aid while warning the Jews against a 'disproportionate response.'
Note another thing about the above passage...it says there will be war with Amalek from generation to generation,and gives the Jews the responsibility of fighting in that war to defeat evil wherever it rears its ugly head.
The Jews commemorate one victory over a latter day manifestation of Amalek Sunday night when they celebrate Purim, the victory of Queen Esther and Mordecai over the evil Haman, who tried to manipulate the King of Persia into signing on to the murder, enslavement and plunder of every Jew in Persia.
Yes, the idea of genocidal maniacs with a hatred for Jews isn't new. Nothing new under the sun, as King Solomon said in Koheles (Ecclesiastes). The only thing that changes is the players.
The Megillah, which is read in every synagogue in the world at Purim relates how Queen Esther,wife of the king could have reacted the way a great many people would have, by simply pretending that what was going on didn't concern her,and rationalizing it. Sound familiar? Instead, she realized that a threat to her people was a threat to her, even as high up and removed as the King's palace. She took the commandment to battle Amalek to heart and risked her life and position to defeat Haman and his evil allies and, along with her brother Mordecai, lead her people to victory.
Purim is preceded by a fast in honor of Esther, and then,well, it's party time! Many Jews observe the custom of sending a special basket of goodies to friends and family, the megillah reading is a noisy and joyous affair especially loved by children, celebrations and costumes abound, and even a bit of liquid libation is quite common...
Think of it a sort of like the Jewish equivalent of carnival, only without the steel pan music and the skimpy bikinis.
As far as I'm concerned, Purim may have special meaning for the Jews, but it ought to belong to the whole world. It's a joyous fete celebrating the triumph of good over evil.
And I'll let my pal Yakov at Dry Bones let you in on a little something, the hidden joke of the whole holiday:
Chag Purim Sameach!
Thursday, March 09, 2017
Democrats are rallying around a new bill by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco,(where else?) that would make it a misdemeanor instead of a felony to intentionally expose someone to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Under current laws , if someone who knows they are infected with HIV infects someone else deliberately - say, with unprotected sex or even sexual assault - it's a major felony and can lead to years of jail time if they're convicted. Wiener's bill wants that repealed.
Wiener's bill, SB239, would also repeal California laws that require people convicted of prostitution for the first time to be tested for AIDS and that increase penalties for prostitution if the prostitute tested positive for AIDS before after a previous arrest.
The rationale for this? Believe it or not 'science.' And equality, of course! Here's the Sacramento Bee quoting Wiener:
"These laws were passed at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic when there was enormous fear and ignorance and misinformation around HIV," Wiener said. "It's time for California to lead and to repeal these laws to send a clear signal that we are going to take a science-based approach to HIV not a fear-based approach."
The last time I checked, 'Science' hadn't yet found a complete cure for HIV or AIDS and it still kills people. According to the last figures we have from the Center For disease Control, in 2014, there were 12,333 deaths of people with diagnosed HIV infection from various causes attributed to effects of the disease and 6,721 deaths were attributed directly to HIV. Thankfully, the number is going down because more of the population most directly affected, male homosexuals, are practicing safe sex and treatment has improved. But ask yourself...how many of these 19,000 people were unknowingly infected? How many were infected by people who knew they had HIV but simply didn't give a damn? And what about the people who were unknowingly infected with HIV by someone who knew they had it, and who didn't die but whose lives were changed forever? Shouldn't people willing to do that to another human being be punished for what amounts to 2nd degree murder or manslaughter at worst and playing Russian roulette with someone else's life at best?
Wiener also claims that the current laws deter people from getting tested for HIV and seeking treatment. Impossible to see how that could be true...unless we're talking about people who are prostitutes and already got caught and were tested once but continued to practice their trade anyway. Or people so self centered and irresponsible that they don't care that having unprotected sex with an unknowing partner could be a death sentence for that person.
Even the most ancient law codes we know recognize that someone deliberately causing injury or death to another person is guilty of a serious crime, and that concept is deeply embedded in common law today worldwide...except in Crazyfornia, a bizarro land where things are different.
I can't imagine homosexuals supporting this lunacy, but given where Wiener's district is, enough of them must be. Given that this is Crazyfornia, I expect the legislature to pass SB239.
A crowd of people waiting for the train at the Dusseldorf Station was attacked by a gang wielding axes who plunged into the waiting crowd. At least 5 people were injured, one seriously including a 13-year-old girl.
The German police have two suspects in custody, including one who jumped off a bridge in an attempt to escape according to the German newspaper Bild.
Their identities have not yet been released. Of course. Those Amish are really violent. Or were they Buddhist monks?
The police are also seeking two other suspects who apparently got away in the confusion. They apparently headed for the city center and are being sought. I'm betting that since only 5 people were hurt, those suspects might have been people fleeing from the carnage, but we'll see.
Needless to say, German media and the police are not only concealing the identities of the two men they arrested, they aren't even referring to it as terrorism at all, or even an attack. It's just an 'incident.'
Germany's elections are coming up, you know. Lass uns die Dinge ruhig halten, ja?*
Of course it's just an incident. Two men got together over coffee and just decided on a whim to get hold of some axes and attack a crowd waiting for the train. Happens every day, right?
Anyone want to bet these weren't Germany's refugees in action? We'll see.
UPDATE: The name of one attacker has been released. He has been identified as 36-year-old Fatmir H. originally from Kosovo.
Told you so. The German press and the authorities not only would have taken pains to say no 'refugees' were involved otherwise. And the axes were also a sure sign jihadis were involved. The last time an axe attack happened in Germany, back in 2016, it was a Pakistani 'refugee.'
The suspect the police didn't catch apparently went back to attacking the infidels and has probably already left the country. I'm guessing that because of where the latest attack occurred.
There was a machete attack today in Dusseldorf on Kalkumer Schlossallee, a street right near the Dusseldorf international airport. The target of this brave jihadi was an 80-year old man, who was still conscious when he was found. The German media are keeping quiet on this, but word has leaked out that the victim described the attacker as being of Middle Eastern appearance.
There was also a machete attack today in Dusseldorf on Kalkumer Schlossallee, a street which lies in proximity to the Dusseldorf international airport. The target of this brave jihadi was an 80-year old man, who was still conscious when he was found. The German media are keeping quiet on this, but word has leaked out that the victim described the attacker as being of Middle Eastern appearance.
Even more grimly ironic, the authorities are saying there appears to be no connection between the two attack 'so far.'
*Let's keep things quiet, OK?
Wednesday, March 08, 2017
The Real Story On The Trump Wiretapping – And The Story Behind The Story
Fox News Hannity: Monica Crowley Interview – THIS IS A WAR! (03/07/2017)
A Day At The Designer Vagina Showplace
Bookworm Beat 3/6/17 — the Obama wiretap edition and open thread
Second Amendment New News
Leftist: civil disobedience is for protesting illegal immigration, not abortion
Forum: Is Demonizing Putin And Russia A Smart Move?
[VIDEO] Prager U: There is no gender wage gap
Logan: A Movie Review (Of sorts)
Muslim women speak out, Georgetown Snowflakes hardest hit
The mainstream media’s false attack on Sebastian Gorka
Nancy Pelosi stricken with Consistent Inconsitentitis
If you were surprised at how many U.S. jobs The Donald added when he was still just President Elect, wait'll you see how he did in his first month in office!
ADP is a well known, worldwide payroll and human resources giant. According to their figures and those of Moody's Analytics, the private sector added 298,000 new jobs, over 100,000 more than expected.
And the stock market surge since President Trump took office means the joy is likely to continue.
Keep in mind that these are private sector jobs, not government jobs.
In other related news, SamSung is planning a large expansion in America, shifting manufacturing jobs from Mexico. The initial investment is $300 million, but a lot more is in the planning stages:
Samsung’s interest in a U.S. factory was influenced by the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Trump campaigned on a desire to create more manufacturing jobs in the country—and has threatened potential penalties for companies that don’t comply.
The South Korean electronics giant, the world’s largest manufacturer of smartphones, memory chips and televisions, has had initial discussions with Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina, according to the people. Among those, South Carolina is a strong contender, according to a person familiar with the developments, with Samsung expressing interest in a site around Blythewood, S.C. [...]
For decades, Samsung has spent heavily in the U.S., ranking as one of the country’s largest direct foreign investors. In November, just days before Mr. Trump’s election, the technology giant said it would invest more than $1 billion in its Austin, Texas semiconductor factory to boost production of processor chips for smartphones and other devices.
Since Mr. Trump’s election, some large firms across Asia have pledged to expand U.S. operations or investments. Masayoshi Son, head of Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., said after a meeting with Mr. Trump in December that he would invest $50 billion in the U.S., while electronics assembler Foxconn Technology Group has announced plans for expansion.
Samsung’s hometown rival LG Electronics Inc. said last week that it would build a new home-appliance manufacturing factory in Tennessee, creating at least 600 jobs and investing $250 million.
In a sign of Samsung’s stature in the U.S., Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong was the only executive from a foreign company to be invited to a mid-December tech industry meeting with Mr. Trump, then the president-elect, according to people familiar with the matter.
But wait, there's more. President Trump hasn't forgotten about our badly neglected infrastructure. Today, as Reuters reports, he's meeting with a number of business leaders to discuss plans to take on that very problem.
President Trump's plan for a $1 trillion infrastructure program is something he has talked about for a long time. Aside from Elon Musk, the people he met with today included major real estate and private equity executives, including developer Richard LeFrak, Vornado Realty Trust Chief Executive Officer Steve Roth and Apollo Global Management co-founder Josh Harris.
What he's doing, of course, is getting the private sector involved in carrying out his infrastructure rehab. And as a successful developer and an experience builder who learned the trade from the ground up, working with the construction crews on his father's projects, President Trump knows exactly how to get the most bang for our buck dollar wise. He knows what works and what doesn't, and how to make it happen on time and on budget. And his trillion dollar program won't be spent on union payoffs, padded government payrolls and money wasting scams like Solyndra. It will be spent on real projects, with real results and put Americans back to work with real jobs...all of which will create economic activity which can then be taxed.
What we're seeing is exactly what candidate Donald Trump promised, the unleashing of America's economic powerhouse from the chains of excessive regulation, high taxes and unfair trade agreements that favor outsourcing. It is going to be an awesome sight to behold. And, y'know, like this:
Tuesday, March 07, 2017
President Trump created a firestorm when he accused President Obama of bugging his phones during the campaign. My first thought was that while this was likely, it was a tactical mistake. After all, basic intel 101 is that when you find something like that, you keep quiet about it and use it to feed false intel to your enemies. But as it has turned out, President Trump was correct to go public with this, and in fact it was a brilliant tactical stroke, which is why the Democrats and their trained seal media are suddenly backing away from a real investigation. Because as we'll see, President Trump was 110% correct. And that's going to end up being a major scandal that might even reach as far as former President Obama.
For a novice at politics, President Trump has been demonstrating real mastery of the game. Or perhaps its just that the Democrat media believes it's own horse manure so thoroughly that it still hasn't figured out who Donald Trump is, or how he got elected.
One of President Trump's tactics has been to tweet directly to the American people on various issues, after which the news cycle simply follows him and devotes lots of space to what an idiot he is. After which, facts come out they are forced to report showing that he was totally correct in the matter.He's set them up a number of times, and each time they are more revealed as the partisan whores they are, as opposed to being actual journalists.
The recent Sweden controversy is a good example.Trump was ridiculed for calling out Sweden as a place where taking in thousands of unassimilated, unvetted refugees has resulted in a dangerous situation complete with no go areas. Even the Swedish government weighed in. And then, the next week, Rinkeby, one of those no go areas in Stockholm, saw violent riots break out with the overwhelmed police actually fleeing the Muslim mobs and fires burning unchecked because the area is deemed to be too dangerous for firefighters to enter without police protection. Whole stories and reports on the horrendous situation in Sweden also surfaced to prove that President trump knew exactly what he was talking about.
Trump has done the same thing here.
The 'Russia hacked the election' meme has been part of the Democrat catechism ever since Trump won the election. of course, no less than a certain ex-president said this was impossible...at least when he thought Mrs. Clinton was a cinch to win:
But the Democrats and their media fellow travelers have continued to use this successfully. Funny, no 'reporter' ever asked any of them that since all the polls showed Mrs. Clinton winning, why would Putin and the Russians waste time and energy helping the candidate who was going to lose? Ohhh, why bother asking? The answer's so obvious, n'est pa*?
Aside from using the 'Russia hacked the election' nonsense to try to deligitimize Trump's election, there was another, more insidious reason to keep this fiction recycling itself in the media. And that was to tie President Trump's hands and if possible, keep him from enacting his agenda at least until the 2018 midterms.
The Senate Democrats, led by the odious Chuck Schumer know Majority leader Mitch McConnell quite well by now as the gutless coward he is. They've realized he has no intention of doing what Harry Reid did to force through Obama appointees with the Nuclear option of a simple majority vote. And so, they have been slow walking all of President Trump's cabinet appointees to a degree never seen before. And that's just the beginning. Because of that, as former Speaker Newt Gingrich pointed out on FOX news, President Trump hasn't even been able to begin to fill 2,000 other political vacancies within the administration. That especially affects the Department of Justice.
A number of these positions are now filled by Obama appointees, and most of them can be depended on to do their best to sabotage Trump's agenda as a fifth column behind the scenes.
By tweeting as he did, President Trump focused attention on the bogus 'Russia hacked the election' nonsense. And as usual, after a couple of days of hysterics from the Democrats and their media, coupled with an Orwellian non-denial from Obama's spokesperson, the real facts began to come out as attention was focused on this.
As the BBC reported, the Obama Administration did indeed wiretap the Trump Towers as well as Donald Trump and many of his campaign associates. Back in June of 2016, they applied for a Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA) warrant to monitor members of the Trump campaign, but were denied.That,by the way is almost unheard of unless there is no real evidence. Out of 35,000+ requests for surveillance, the FISA court has only ever rejected 12. That also suggests that the evidence was truly non-existent against Trump.
They tried a second time a month later, in July and were rejected again. They tried a third time, before a new judge and succeeded on October 15th, three weeks before the election.
According to what's surfacing now, Obama or someone in his administration circumvented both the regular command of the FBI and the regularly appointed federal courts, by placing the entire case as a FISA case (probably under Sally Yates at DOJ) as a “foreign” case, and then omitted Trump’s name from the third request for a surveillance warrant submitted to the FISA court, which the court unwittingly granted. And which was then misused to spy on Trump, and many connected to Trump's campaign. It was President Obama, you'll remember who changed NSA policy just before he left office and instructed his security people toshare and preserve intel on this. He may live to regret that.
Additional proof of this comes, ironically, from the New York Times.On January 19th and 20th 2017,when President Trump was inaugurated, the New York Times emphasized the ongoing 'investigation' in a front page story by reporter Michael S. Schmidt:
"American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said.
"The continuing counterintelligence investigation means that Mr. Trump will take the oath of office on Friday with his associates under investigation and after the intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had worked to help elect him."
"The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House."
Well, well! Now let's flash forward to March 4, 2017. Lo and behold there's a story in the New York Times with this headline: Trump, Offering No Evidence, Says Obama Tapped His Phones.' The author? Why, reporter Michael S. Schmidt, of course!
It's getting to the point they can't even keep their lies straight any more. Now the same Obama trained media seals who used the press to smear Trump are now demanding that he help them by denying what openly appeared - in the narrative they put out to try and destroy his presidency.
My personal choice for ringmaster of this circus is Obama lackey John Abu Brennan, former head of our CIA. He was almost certainly the 'senior official' referred to by the BBC and made a huge mistake in thinking he could put this out there without Trump calling him on it.As you may have noticed, the media isn't asking John Brennan anything. They're deliberately not putting him on the Sunday shows and the other usual outlets.
Instead, they're pushing Orwellian non-denials from the likes of James Clapper and Obama spokesperson Kevin Lewis. Meet the Press's Chuck Todd simply swallowed Clapper's lame horse manure without a single follow up. He never even asked Clapper to respond to the BBC story. Media whores like Chuck Todd have already gotten their marching orders. This needs to go quietly away. Among other things, Donald Trump just exploded the whole 'Putin hacked the election for Trump' mythology. It can't be safely used anymore.
And there's a good reason why. There are a number of crimes that appear to have been committed
In order to wiretap any American citizen suspected of illegal activity involving foreign intelligence, approval is needed from a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act)judge.
FISA, 50 USC 1801 was deliberately designed as a very limited method of obtaining surveillance authority. That's because FISA evades the usual federal court process to authorize surveillance the Fourth Amendment forbids. So the FISA laws are limited and can be applied only for surveillance about pending terror attacks or “grave hostile” situations. So a FISA application can only be used in very limited circumstances. If the application for such a warrant was deliberately constructed with false information, that is a major felony under section 1809, which makes it a crime for anyone to either perform electronic surveillance under “color of law” under FISA or to disclose or use the information gathered from it.
Misusing the FISA system when foreign intelligence is NOT involved is another felony. So is perjury or conspiracy to commit perjury when it comes to say, testimony in congress used to falsely accuse Attorney general Jeff Sessions.
Then there's this. FISA law forbids the dissemination of the information. But Obama's people issued orders to exactly that, if published reports are true about the administration sharing the surveilled information far-and-wide to promote unlawful leaks to the press. FISA strictly segregates information gathered by surveillance into two categories. Either it's highly confidential, classified intel involving serious espionage,terrorism or or acts of war or it's information that shouldn't have been gathered and needs to be immediately deleted, not sourced nor disseminated.
Since the intel gathered in spying on the Trump campaign wasn't FISA material, it was supposed to have been deleted and destroyed. Instead, Obama's crew did the opposite,ordering that it be preserved, and ordering the NSA to search it, keep it, and share it. After which Obama’s Attorney General, Loretta Lynch issued an order to allow broader sharing of information.
That's not anything she would have the authority or the gall to do unless she had received direction - directly for the President, Barack Hussein Obama.
Now you know why the Democrats and their media creatures are backing away from this like a vampire from garlic.
Obama in now in the middle of the worst scandal since Watergate. Even worse, another of his little tricks backfired badly. As I reported earlier, Obama had the attack on Sessions planned way beforehand. He changed the order of succession in the Department of Justice deliberately so that one of his appointees would be in charge of the bogus 'Russia investigation.'
But President Trump, being no fool, did exactly the same thing. So the new acting Attorney General is now Dana Boente, the man Obama removed from succession...and Trump just put him back in charge. Boente is a solid , ethical prosecutor very much along the lines of Jeff Sessions,and he now has the opportunity to make a real name for himself.
The question, of course is "what did President Obama know, and when did he know it?" The rats on this sinking ship are unlikely to be willing to do jail time to protect Obama, at least not all of them. One of the smaller fish is going to talk in exchange for immunity.
Barack Husein Obama may go down in history not just as the first black president but as the first president to be a convicted felon. And he may end up with some interesting company.
* Ain't that the truth?
Monday, March 06, 2017
Every week on Monday, the WoW! staff, community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question:Is Demonizing Putin And Russia A Smart Move?
Don Surber: "Is Demonizing Putin And Russia A Smart Move?"
No, but it is one Democrats are stuck with. In order to legally spy on The Donald's campaign, they had to convince a FISA judge that Putin was in cahoots with Trump.
As Trump exposes the espionage, I believe most Americans will have a what-the-feathers moment and side with President Trump. We do not like wiretapping.
Rob Miller : Ahh, Russia! A mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a wonderful sandwich of that Russian black rye, turkey or roast beef, spicy Russian mustard and pickle with kasha on the side and a Stoly chaser (Sorry, Sir Winston).
First, let's not forget that Barack Hussein Obama and his $ecretary of $tate Hillary Clinton gave Putin whatever he wanted in the beginning. They literally betrayed Poland and the Czech Republic by reneging on America's commitment to put missile defense units in those countries and all Putin had to do was glower a bit.
Russia's nukes at the time of the Hillary 'reset' were outmoded and out of date, So Obama and Hillary put together that ridiculous START treaty, which not only had the U.S. decommissioning state of the art American nukes on parity with Russia's obsolete ones, but giving Russia access to our top anti-missile technology like Shoot To Kill, with no quid pro quo from Russia at all. And that doesn't count Hillary giving Russia control over a chunk of America's uranium production in exchange for a nice donation to the Clinton Foundation and a $500K speaking fee for Bill. What the Clintons and Obama gave Russia hurt America worse and was worth far more to Putin than they and their surrogate's wildest accusations about anyone in the Trump Administration!
But as to the question at hand...
The major challenge of our age is the War on Jihad. Nothing else comes close. This isn't a clash between civilizations as Samuel Huntington put it, but a clash between civilization and totalitarian barbarity. And the Russians know that first hand.
In the 13th century, the Mongol invasion of the early Russian state of Rus was a catastrophe. Rus lost most of its territory to the Mongols and to the Polish/Lithuanian kingdom. The Mongols devastated whole,entire cities and left them in ruins.Whatever was left of Russia had to pay tribute in slaves and treasure to the Tatars, the Muslim successors to the Mongols. And that lasted until the 15th century, when the Russians finally drove them out. The Russians have been fighting jihad for centuries, and have recent, first hand experience of jihadi brutality...like the 2004 takeover of a school in Beslan by jihadis and the subsequent rape, murder and torture of the children , teachers and other adults they held hostage. Even the most savage beasts would never have behaved in such a fashion. Beslan, Mumbai, Nairobi, Paris, Nice, Ma'alot, Orlando...it never changes except for the details.
If civilization is to triumph over barbarism, we must remain united,whatever our differences. That is how the West won at Lepanto and at Vienna. Different kingdoms put aside their differences to fight the greater threat. And we will need security cooperation with Russia to win the War on Jihad.
The uncomfortable truth of the matter is that Putin and Russia have been the ones fighting jihad, while Barack Obama and his cabal have been complicit in financing, empowering, arming and training it. It was Obama, after all, who destabilized the Middle East, destroyed America's relationship with Egypt by trying to turn the country over to the Muslim Brotherhood, distanced us from the region's Sunnis by empowering Iran, and helped create ISIS and backed 'moderate Syrian rebels' who were al-Qaeda affiliates.
The entire Crimea dust up is the most ridiculous of all. What we did to Russia and the Serbs with Kossovo is far worse than what Putin did with the Crimea. And what's more, we didn't even have any national interests at stake there. It was simply wag the dog, to distract the news headlines from Bill Clinton's intern problems and look good to the Muslim world, particularly the Saudis. And it has negatively affected our relationship with Russia severely to this day. Memories are long in that part of the world.
Russia needs the Crimea as its sole outlet to the Mediterranean, and the warm water ports it can reach via the Black Sea. That's also one of the main reasons behind Putin's involvement with Syria...Russia's vital naval bases, the Syrian ports at Tartus and Latakia .
Putin might not be a leader Americans would appreciate, but Russia is a different place, where the country has only prospered under strong, autocratic leaders. Putin is a Russian nationalist, but he also keeps his agreements. A sit down between Putin and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who Putin knows and respects as a man of his word is likely to yield some important and necessary fruit.
Mike McDaniel : onald Reagan’s 11th Commandment was “thou shalt not speak ill of other Republicans. Immediately after he left office, the Republican Party abandoned that common sense idea, which was equally immediately seized upon by the Democrats, who have rigorously observed it, and practiced the opposite: “though shalt speak ill of every Republican.”
Speaking ill of the Russians is, mostly, a no-lose proposition for the Democrats. Sure, it’s insanely hypocritical for the party of Ted Kennedy, who actually sought the aid of the Soviets, an evil empire bent on the destruction of America, to help him sabotage Ronald Reagan. The same party’s presidential candidate, John Kerry, betrayed his fellow military members, and his picture hung, for decades, in the North Vietnamese war museum as a hero of the struggle against America. The dishonor role goes on and one, yet it is the same party now indignant that members of the Trump Administration may have had the slightest contact with the Russian Ambassador, a man whose job it is to have as much contact with Americans as possible.
President Trump, with his too friendly comments about Vladimir Putin only painted a bigger target on his back. On one hand, we certainly want relations with Russia to be as good as possible, consistent with America’s national interests and those of our allies, but it wouldn’t hurt Mr. Trump, even now, to take a bit of a rhetorically harder line with Russia.
Still, the Democrats are riding any mention of Russia like a rented mule, and their goal is to use that ridiculous, lame topic to do as much damage to Mr. Trump--and to the nation--as possible. They don’t care how much America is harmed in the world in the process, as long as they get Trump, and perhaps, even seize power again.
Putin is doubtless laughing uproariously. He could care less if the Democrats say bad things about him. He knows, no matter what, they will always be useful idiots, easily manipulated to the detriment of America. He could easily be working with Democrats to harm Trump, who any rational leader must understand is not going to be the feckless pajama boy and useful idiot Barack Obama was. Any weakening of America is to Putin’s advantage, and our Democrat Party is working for him, whether intentionally or not.
Until Trump, and the Republicans can agree to fight back and not give an inch, the Democrats, and Putin win. Merely acknowledging their false accusations and faux outrage surrenders without resistance. The media will, of course, do everything it can to attack Trump and help the Democrats. Unless they want to surrender the majority, and give the Congress and White House back to the likes of Barack Obama, Trump and the Republicans had better put on a unified front, and say: “yes, members of the Trump Administration have talked to the Russians, and they’ll talk to the Russians in the future, just as they will talk to representatives of every other nations. That’s what we’re supposed to do. You’ll see the result in our foreign policy. That’s all we will have to say on this issue, now get the hell out of my office.”
The Democrats do have a risk: Americans are sick of fake outrage and fake news. However, the Administration and Republicans need to show them they’re on their side. Thus far, Republicans seem determined to squander everything that fell into their laps. The real battle is an offensive one against Democrats who are subverting our republic, not a defensive battle against non-scandals.
Demonizing Russia may be a smart move, if Republicans continue to do more damage to Mr. Trump than the Democrats. It won’t take long to find out.
Bookworm Room: My glib answer is that, if the Democrats are doing it, is is ab initio a bad idea. Russia is exactly the same as it was when Obama promised Putin flexibility and then handed the Middle East over to it; when Hillary, in exchange for sizable bribes, was nice enough to give Russia control over vast quantities of uranium; or when Podesta did whatever it was he did to increase his wealth thanks to dealings with Putin's Russia. The problem is that, by playing this public game of demonizing Russia when nothing has changed, the Progressives are trying to force both Putin and Trump into an adversarial relationship that may not be to America's benefit.
In this regard, it's important to keep in mind that the Progressives have been unable to articulate an ideological rationale for this demonizing. This distinguishes the situation from that prevailing during the Cold War, which saw America stand worldwide for freedom and the Soviet Union stand worldwide for tyranny. It's true that Putin is a KGB oligarch and tyrant, as well as Russian who wants what Russia has always wanted: Control over vast tracts of land and people. Having said that,though, this is not the Cold War and we are not in an ideological stand-off with Putin or Russia. Progressives have simply chosen him as the Bogey Man because they can.
My take is that allowing Trump, who truly loves and "gets" America, to have a free hand in his dealings with Russia is probably the best situation. In that way, Trump can respond as needed to whatever situations arise, whether in the Middle East, in Europe, or domestically. Creating an artificial enmity, where none has existed for the preceding eight years, gains nothing and risks much.
So, back to my first point: As is true for all Democrat/Progressive ideas, demonizing Putin and Russia is a dumb move.
Laura Rambeau Lee : The Cold War never ended no matter how hard the left tries to convince us otherwise. Progressives love to demonize Russia and blame them for every bad thing. A lot of it is true, such as them trying to influence our political elections. They have been doing this for a very long time and are expert at disseminating propaganda and disinformation.
The dirty secret is the progressive left (many within the media and in high political office) is working towards the same goal as Putin – the destruction of the United States of America. We need to be very clear that Putin is a hard core communist and has illusions of restoring the old Soviet Union.
But demonizing Putin and Russia is not a smart move. We have been dancing this dance with Russia for decades; utilizing them as allies when it serves our shared interests and placing sanctions on them when they step out of line. Maybe with Gorbachev President Reagan could “trust, but verify.” With Putin there can be no trust, and always verify. But as a world power we will continue to need to keep diplomatic lines of communication open with Russia. Demonizing them will only make our tenuous relationship more difficult to maintain.
Well, there it is.
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