Nepal's Seismic Time Bomb
50 minutes ago
An examination of certain political, narrative, and academic issues from a reasonably conservative perspective.
|Chart from Gallup article linked below|
|"You folks think a wretched election can stop me?! Think again!"|
Republicans' 17-percentage-point edge over Obama on this measure exceeds what they earned after the 2010 midterm, when Americans favored Republicans by an eight-point margin (49% to 41%). It also eclipses the nine-point advantage Republicans had over Bill Clinton following the 1994 midterm in which Republicans captured the majority of both houses.
The midterm election provided a clear signal as to which party voters want to control Congress. That message is echoed in the results of the latest Gallup poll showing Americans expressly asking for the Republicans -- rather than Obama -- to guide the direction the country takes in the next year. But, after four years of partisan gridlock, most Americans are not optimistic that the election's outcome will improve things.
|Amazingly, people who release these kind of pictures are trying to lie and deceive you. Weird, I know. Most people working hard to deify a leader are usually so trustworthy...|
|"I deem this plant profitable and economically sustainable-- even though it needs a gift of more than half-a-billion dollars of your money. You folks can all thank me later."|
|(pic from DailyTech)|
After already receiving a controversial $1.6 billion construction loan from U.S. taxpayers, the wealthy investors of a California solar power plant now want a $539 million federal grant to pay off their federal loan.
"This is an attempt by very large cash generating companies that have billions on their balance sheet to get a federal bailout, i.e. a bailout from us - the taxpayer for their pet project," said Reason Foundation VP of Research Julian Morris. "It's actually rather obscene."
The Ivanpah solar electric generating plant is owned by Google and renewable energy giant NRG, which are responsible for paying off their federal loan. If approved by the U.S. Treasury, the two corporations will not use their own money, but taxpayer cash to pay off 30 percent of the cost of their plant, but taxpayers will receive none of the millions in revenues the plant will generate over the next 30 years. [That may not be a big deal, since this thing is economically suspect at best.]
"They're already paying less than the market rate," said Morris, author of a lengthy report detailing alleged cronyism and corruption in the Obama administration's green energy programs. "Now demanding or asking for a subsidy in the form of a grant directly paying off the loan is an egregious abuse."
NRG doesn't see it that way, telling Fox News the money is there for the taking."NRG believes in a clean and sustainable energy future and therefore participates in available government programs to develop and expand the use of clean energy to accelerate America’s energy independence." In 2013, the Obama administration handed out $18.5 billion in renewable energy grants, with $4.4 billion going to solar projects.
Ivanpah is the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world. It was unveiled in February with great fanfare. Dr. Ernest Moniz, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, justified taxpayers' investment at the time, saying, "We want to be technology leaders. It's good for our economy and it’s also good for helping stimulate the global transition to low carbon."
But since then the plant has not lived up to its clean energy promise. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the plant produced only about a quarter of the power it's supposed to, a disappointing 254,263 megawatt-hours of electricity from January through August, not the million megawatt-hours it promised. [emphasis mine]
|The Light-bringer sayeth: "When trying to sway public opinion regarding gun control, sometimes a few folks have to die. Also George Bush did it."|
The Justice Department sent Congress 64,280 pages of documents it had previously withheld from the botched Fast and Furious gun-walking operation on Tuesday, in a move Republicans said was an admission by President Obama that he overstepped his legal bounds.
Investigators had sought the documents for years, with the House even suing in federal court to force their release. Mr. Obama had asserted executive privilege, claiming the documents were part of the “deliberative process” of White House decision-making and therefore didn’t need to be divulged, but the court rejected those claims.
|But the State Dept. and White House used sad faces and hashtags! What could've gone wrong?!|
Not too much attention has been paid to our efforts to “degrade and destroy ISIS” in the past few days. Perhaps the White House can find something in this election cycle for which to be grateful, because this Washington Post report on our efforts to use proxies for that mission would otherwise dominate the news cycle. Not only has the US focused entirely on preparing our “moderate” allies in Syria for defense rather than attacking ISIS, they turned out to be incompetent even at that effort:
The Obama administration’s Syria strategy suffered a major setback Sunday after fighters linked to al-Qaeda routed U.S.-backed rebels from their main northern strongholds, capturing significant quantities of weaponry, triggering widespread defections and ending hopes that Washington will readily find Syrian partners in its war against the Islamic State.It’s not just that they got defeated — some of them switched sides:
Moderate rebels who had been armed and trained by the United States either surrendered or defected to the extremists as the Jabhat al-Nusra group, affiliated with al-Qaeda, swept through the towns and villages the moderates controlled in the northern province of Idlib, in what appeared to be a concerted push to vanquish the moderate Free Syrian Army, according to rebel commanders, activists and analysts.Michael Totten says that Syria is gone, and so is any hope of containing ISIS without boots on the ground:
Other moderate fighters were on the run, headed for the Turkish border as the extremists closed in, heralding a significant defeat for the rebel forces Washington had been counting on as a bulwark against the Islamic State.
They were bad proxies anyway. The Syrian Revolutionary Front was an Islamist organization. Less deranged than Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, sure, but it was still an Islamist organization. Harakat Hazm is more secular, but it consists of a measly 5,000 fighters while the Islamic State has as many as 100,000.
Syria is gone. The only portions of that former country that may still be salvageable are the Kurdish scraps in the north. The Kurds are good fighters and they may be able to hold on with our help, but there is no chance they will ever destroy the Assad regime or the Islamic State. They don’t have the strength or the numbers.
So unless the United States decides to invade outright with ground forces—and fat chance of that happening any time soon—we’re going to have to accept that the geographic abstraction once known as Syria will be a terrorist factory for the foreseeable future.
In other words, good luck trying to “degrade and destroy” ISIS through the weak proxies on either side of the former Iraqi-Syrian border. As Totten writes, until we decide that this mission is worth doing ourselves, it won’t get done at all — or will it? The AP reported today that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are considering the formation of a ground force to intervene in the conflict, which might help in Syria — but might touch off a bigger war, since those nations want to push Bashar al-Assad out of power, too, and counter the influence of Iran
|A chickenshit and a fighter (Photo and caption from Dani Danyan's Twitter)|
As Prime Minister, I stand firm with regard to Israel's security. I care about the lives of each and every citizen and each and every soldier. I have been on battlefields many times. I risked my life for this country, and I am not prepared to make concessions that will endanger it. And it must be understood, our supreme interests, first and foremost security and the unity of Jerusalem, are not the top priority of those same anonymous sources that attack us and me personally. I am being attacked only because I am protecting the State of Israel. If I did not protect the State of Israel, if I did not stand up decisively for our national and security interests, they would not attack me. And despite the attacks I face, I will continue to protect our country; I will continue to protect the citizens of Israel.
I would also like to add that I respect and appreciate our deep connection with the United States. Since the establishment of the country, we have had disagreements with the US and we will have disagreements in the future as well. However, they are not at the expense of the close relationship between our peoples and our countries. We have seen time and again, this year as well, that support for the State of Israel is ever increasing among the American public, and this support reached an all-time high. The strategic alliance and the moral covenant between our countries continues and will continue. [emphasis mine]
|Amazingly, the hashtag diplomacy has shown little results...|
Pro-Western parties prevailed in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections over the weekend, but the country’s armed forces continued to suffer casualties amid fighting with Russian-backed separatists in the east.
President Petro Poroshenko’s political group began talks with Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk’s People’s Front party on Monday to form a majority coalition in the parliament that would push democratic reforms. The Opposition Bloc, a pro-Russian party with allies of former leader Viktor Yanukovich, received slightly less than 10 percent of the vote.
The election results keep Ukraine on a path toward closer integration with the European Union following the ouster of Yanukovich, a Russian ally, in February. Russia responded aggressively to the toppling of Yanukovich earlier this year by invading and annexing the Crimean peninsula and funneling arms and troops into eastern Ukraine to support the rebels there.
Ongoing fighting between Ukrainian forces and the pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east—despite a ceasefire agreement reached in early September—remains a serious obstacle to closer Ukrainian ties with Europe. Two Ukrainian troops were reportedly killed in the region on Sunday.
The White House press office released a statement from President Obama on Monday praising Ukrainians for holding the elections and pledging to “continue to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “stand with its people as they seek to build a more secure, prosperous, and democratic future.” Obama offered no indication that he would reverse his policy of not providing lethal aid to the Ukrainian military.
Poroshenko bluntly told U.S. lawmakers in September that “one cannot win the war with blankets,” a reference to the limited supplies U.S. officials have contributed to the Ukrainian effort thus far.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that Moscow would recognize Ukraine’s elections in the hope that the country now has leaders who “do not drag Ukraine to the West or to the East” but “will deal with the real problems facing the country.” Last Friday, President Vladimir Putin blamed Ukraine for the recent breakdown in the ceasefire.
The city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, said a for-profit wedding chapel owned by two ministers doesn't have to perform same-sex marriages.
The city has been embroiled in controversy ever since the owners of the Hitching Post sued the city. They say a city anti-discrimination law threatened to force them to marry same-sex couples now that gay marriage is legal in Idaho.
The story lit up conservative and gay-rights blogs. Wedding chapel owners Donald and Evelyn Knapp said they feared jail time or fines if they declined marriage services to a same-sex couple.
Initially, the city said its anti-discrimination law did apply to the Hitching Post, since it is a commercial business. Earlier this week, Coeur d'Alene city attorney Mike Gridley sent a letter to the Knapps’ attorneys at the Alliance Defending Freedom saying the Hitching Post would have to become a not-for-profit to be exempt.
But Gridley said after further review, he determined the ordinance doesn’t specify non-profit or for-profit.
“After we've looked at this some more, we have come to the conclusion they would be exempt from our ordinance because they are a religious corporation,” Gridley explained.
A second Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola is now free of the virus, Emory University Hospital in Atlanta said on Friday.
Amber Vinson, one of two nurses from a Dallas hospital infected with Ebola after treating the first patient diagnosed with the disease in the United States, is still receiving supportive care at Emory and no release date has been set.
But tests no longer detect the virus in her blood, the hospital said in a statement.
Third Way, a progressive think tank with ties to the Democracy Alliance, has removed newly appointed Ebola czar Ron Klain from its website, following a Washington Free Beacon report.
The Free Beacon reported Friday on Klain’s status as a trustee for Third Way, and his past experience lobbying on behalf of a drug company that was accused of denying life-saving drugs to dying cancer patients.
The choice of Klain to head the administration’s emergency response to Ebola was criticized as a political move. Klain is a political operative with no medical experience and a former advisor to former Vice President Al Gore, Vice President Joe Biden, and President Barack Obama.
“He gained national notice as General Counsel for the Gore Recount Committee in 2000, in recognition of which he was selected as one of National Law Journal’s ‘Lawyers of the Year,’ and portrayed by Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey in HBO’s film ‘RECOUNT,’” a biography of Klain had read on the group’s website.
City officials [of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho] told Donald Knapp that he and his wife Evelyn, both ordained ministers who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, are required to perform such ceremonies or face months in jail and/or thousands of dollars in fines. The city claims its “non-discrimination” ordinance requires the Knapps to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies now that the courts have overridden Idaho’s voter-approved constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
Coeur d’Alene officials told the Knapps privately and also publicly stated that the couple would violate the city’s public accommodations statute once same-sex marriage became legal in Idaho if they declined to perform a same-sex ceremony at their chapel. On Friday, the Knapps respectfully declined such a ceremony and now face up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for each day they decline to perform that ceremony.
“The city somehow expects ordained pastors to flip a switch and turn off all faithfulness to their God and their vows,” explained ADF Legal Counsel Jonathan Scruggs. “The U.S. Constitution as well as federal and state law clearly stand against that. The city cannot mandate across-the-board conformity to its interpretation of a city ordinance in utter disregard for the guaranteed freedoms Americans treasure in our society.”
The Islamic State (IS) militant group has been driven out of most of the northern Syrian town of Kobane, a Kurdish commander has told the BBC.
Baharin Kandal said IS fighters had retreated from all areas, except for two pockets of resistance in the east.
US-led air strikes have helped push back the militants, with another 14 conducted over the past 24 hours.
Meanwhile, the new UN human rights commissioner has called IS a "potentially genocidal" movement.
Speaking by phone, Kurdish commander Baharin Kandal told the BBC's Kasra Naji that she hoped the city would be "liberated soon".
Ms Kandal said her militia group had been receiving arms, supplies and fighters but she refused to say how, reports our correspondent, who is on the Turkish border near Kobane.
Kurdish defenders have victory in their sights. After exactly a month of fighting, they say they have driven Islamic State from most of the city.
The battle for Kobane, which is also known as Ayn al-Arab, is regarded as a major test of whether the US-led coalition's air campaign can push back IS.
|"I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits, either now or in the future. I mean just look at this halo behind me! Would a man photographed with a golden halo lie to you? Never!"|
A new analysis of data from the Congressional Budget Office has provided a final cost estimate for the implementation of Obamacare over the next decade–and the results are bleak.
With the initial plan for the law’s enactment, the legislation issued in March 2010 concluded that–based on its scoring conventions and assuming the law would be implemented as written, the health care provisions of the plan would have reduced the federal budget deficit by $124 billion between 2010 and 2019. In 2012, the CBO updated its 10-year estimate, saying health care would reduce the deficit by $109 billion.
Since then, the CBO has again updated its estimates to fall in line with changes in the implementation of Obamacare and its botched rollout and limited enforcement. In those estimates they discovered that instead of saving money, Obamacare will only increase the deficit.
The United States Senate Budget Committee wrote:
Altogether, the SBC Republican staff analysis finds that after taking these significant changes since 2012 into account, the Democrats’ health care law will increase the budget deficit by $131 billion over the current 10-year budget window (FY 2015–2024).
This estimate is arrived at by taking the $180 billion in projected deficit reduction from the CBO 2012 extrapolation and then accounting for the lower net cost of the coverage provisions ($83 billion), the lower estimated federal health care savings under the plan ($132 billion), as well as the lower projected revenue levels when including the labor market effects of the legislation ($262 billion).
The difference between the 2012 extrapolation and the current estimate of the cost of the Democrats’ health law amounts to a $311 billion change in its net deficit impact.Never mind that President Obama promised this would not happen.
|"Suck it, America. My wife and I never liked you much anyway..."|
Those planning to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchange will soon find out how much rates have increased -- after the Nov. 4 election.
Enrollment on the Healthcare.gov website begins Nov. 15, or 11 days after the midterm vote, and critics who worry about rising premium hikes in 2015 say that’s no coincidence. Last year’s inaugural enrollment period on the health-care exchange began Oct. 1.
“This is more than just a glitch,” said Tim Phillips, president of free-market Americans for Prosperity, in a Friday statement. “The administration’s decision to withhold the costs of this law until after Election Day is just more proof that Obamacare is a bad deal for Americans.”
Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, said in a Monday column in USA Today that "when it comes to a lack of openness and transparency about Obamacare, this administration has no peer."