Some are mildly NSFW. You've been warned.
An examination of certain political, narrative, and academic issues from a reasonably conservative perspective.
|"I love you, Dear Leader. Let me kiss your jacket sleeves."|
President Obama announced Friday that White House press secretary Jay Carney will be stepping down from his job and be replaced by deputy Josh Earnest.
"It's been an amazing experience," Carney said after Obama's announcement.
Carney said he will stay on until mid-June.
In praising his press secretary, Obama described Carney as one of his best friends and said he would continue to rely on him as an outside adviser.
Obama described Earnest, his incoming spokesman, as "honest and full of integrity" and "a straight shooter."
|"Higher energy prices, higher prices for consumer goods, and another hit to the GDP. I just can't believe how smart I am! You're welcome America."|
Next week, it’s expected that President Obama will personally announce EPA’s latest effort to transform how America generates electricity. Remember in 2008, when Candidate Barack Obama said, electricity prices would “skyrocket?” This is what he meant, and it will affect every element of economic activity.
What is EPA about to do?
Next week, EPA will release carbon emission regulations for already-existing power plants. It’s a follow-up to last-year’s proposed regulations on new power plants.
How damaging could these regulations be on our economy?
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy released a report, “Assessing the Impact of Proposed New Carbon Regulations in the United States,” prepared with the assistance of the global energy and economics firm IHS. The analysis found that by 2030 potential new carbon regulations could:
The report is based on an existing plan developed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Obama administration's previously-announced goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 42% of 2005 levels by 2030. “We considered it as close as we could get to what the administration would be unveiling next week,” Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Energy Institute said at a press conference.
- Cost as many as 442,000 jobs in 2022 and put 224,000 Americans out of work, on average, annually
- Cost $51 billion in GDP loss annually
- Lower disposable household income by 586 billion
- Increase electricity costs by more than $289 billion.
How will this affect consumers?
Since the United States isn’t a homogenous mass, these potential rules will affect different areas of the country differently depending on what fuel sources they rely on and are able to tap for electricity generation. The report finds that the most damaging effects on jobs and the economy will be felt in much of the south and the Great Lakes region.
As for electricity prices, if you live in the South power region—much of the Southeast from Tennessee to Florida--expect to see the highest increases: $6.6 billion on average annually and $111.4 cumulatively from 2014-2030.
Map: Average Annual GDP and Job Losses from Potential EPA Carbon Regulations
Map: Average Annual Increase of Electricity Costs from Potential EPA Carbon Regulations
|"Do not worry. My mystical hoe and book of quotes from Rev. Wright will put the economy back on track. And anyone who doubts me is racist!"|
The economy in the U.S. contracted for the first time in three years from January through March as companies added to inventories at a slower pace and curtailed investment.
Gross domestic product fell at a 1 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, a bigger decline than projected, after a previously reported 0.1 percent gain, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The last time the economy shrank was in the same three months of 2011. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.5 percent drop.
A pickup in receipts at retailers, stronger manufacturing and faster job growth indicate the first-quarter setback will prove temporary as pent-up demand is unleashed [pent-up demand by who exactly? The unemployed, the record numbers on disability, or the record numbers on food stamps? Reminds me of the "pent-up demand for housing" and that didn't work out to well, did it?]. Federal Reserve policy makers said at their April meeting that the economy has strengthened after adverse weather took its toll.
Vietnam and China traded barbs over the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat, their most serious bilateral standoff since 2007 as China asserts its claims in the disputed South China Sea.
“It was rammed by a Chinese boat,” Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said by phone of the Vietnamese vessel, with the crew of 10 rescued after the scrap. The incident occurred after some 40 Chinese fishing vessels encircled a group of Vietnamese boats in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, the government in Hanoi said in a statement on its website.
China said the Vietnamese vessel capsized after it rammed a Chinese fishing boat, having intruded into a “precautionary area” around an oil rig that China has located near islands claimed by both Vietnam and China.
“We once again urge the Vietnamese side to stop immediately all kinds of disruptive and damaging activities and avoid in particular dangerous actions on the sea,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters in Beijing.
“The message China is sending Vietnam is, this area of water is Chinese territory,” Ha Hoang Hop, visiting senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, said by phone of the boat sinking. “Yesterday a spokesman for China said Vietnam’s claims are ‘ridiculous.’ They are escalating things at sea and with their language.”
China’s placement of the rig near the contested Paracel Islands sparked violent protests in Vietnam this month and led China to send ships to evacuate workers from the country after three Chinese nationals were killed. It spurred confrontations between coast guard vessels, including the use of water cannons and accusations of boats being rammed. China says the rig is in its territory and that it has long drilled in the area.This ongoing issue in Asia merits close attention. As China's economy, which is based on completely wrong economic theories, flounders, China could become very aggressive as it desperately attempts to add resources, territory, and wealth from its surrounding countries. Let's not forget that China has done this before. Unfortunately many of these neighboring nations-- Vietnam not among them-- have heavily relied upon the United States for protection. If China becomes aggressive while Obama is still in the White House, countries like Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, and others are on their own. And if Obama succeeds in major crippling the U.S. economy and/or the military, any Chinese aggression for the next several years will go unchallenged by the America-- aside from sanctions, idle threats, and such.
A recent study has uncovered that nearly 89 percent of food stamp recipients frivol [sic] away their welfare aid on unhealthy, overpriced convenience store junk food.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP for short, was originally designed to help the needy become more self-reliant in times of economic strife. However, judging by what these individuals are choosing to purchase, it is evident that the majority of those who receive benefits are criminally milking the system for all it’s worth.
The Malbeck Data Institute released the results of their study which set out to determine what types of foods were being purchased with food stamp benefits, and the results were startling for many tax payers. Only 11 percent of welfare recipients used their cards to purchase basic ingredients for healthy meals.
Strains between China and its neighbors burst to the surface in two parts of the South China Sea, taking the high-stakes struggle for control over the waters to new levels of friction.Off Vietnam, dozens of Chinese military and civilian ships clashed with the Vietnamese coast guard, with Vietnamese officials complaining its vessels were repeatedly rammed. On the same day, Philippine police apprehended Chinese fishing vessels loaded with hundreds of sea turtles in disputed waters.
About 80 Chinese vessels moved into an area near the disputed Paracel Islands, where Hanoi has sought to prevent China from deploying a massive oil rig, said Rear Adm. Ngo Ngoc Thu, vice commander of the Vietnamese coast guard. He said the flotilla included seven military ships and that it was supported by aircraft.
He said the situation, which started brewing over the weekend, was "very tense" and said six Vietnamese officers had been injured in the standoff.
The confrontation—by far the most serious in recent years between the two neighbors—marked a significant escalation in Beijing's willingness to press its natural-resource claims, analysts said.
A senior administration official said the White House views the latest escalation as part of a pattern of behavior as China continues to try to advance its territorial claims. "We're obviously very concerned about it," the official said. "We have conveyed our concerns to the Chinese."
President Barack Obama toured the region last month, stressing U.S. security cooperation. The latest escalation of tensions in the South China Sea reinforces that the disputes "are not going to be solved with one trip or one speech," said Michael Green, senior vice president for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "And it shows that the Chinese side is not fazed by the negative reaction in the region," Mr. Green said.
Security scholars said the latest escalation in tensions is the cumulative result of deep-seated mistrust over China's intentions among smaller regional players combined with Beijing's increased assertiveness as well as a lack of mechanisms to prevent and manage crises.
The confrontation also illuminated the role of China's state-owned energy companies in helping advance China's territorial ambitions, despite frequent assertions by executives that they are driven by profit and not politics.
The Philippines on Wednesday apprehended a Chinese fishing vessel "carrying large numbers of endangered species" near Half Moon Shoal, a sandbar in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea and a hotbed for illegal sea-turtle poaching. Philippines police senior inspector Dante Padilla said an inspection of the boat yielded around 500 sea turtles, some of them dead.
He said the police had arrested the captain of the Chinese vessel and its 10 crew
The Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement it seized the Chinese fishing boat "to enforce maritime laws and to uphold Philippine sovereign rights over its [exclusive economic zone]."
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying urged the Philippines to release the fishermen and to refrain from taking further provocative actions. Ms. Hua said the Chinese Embassy in Manila had complained to the Philippine government.
The Philippines and China have overlapping maritime claims in several areas in the South China Sea. Amid China's recent aggressive assertions of its claims in the dispute areas, the Philippines had brought its case before an international tribunal to rally international support for its territorial claim.
On his visit to the region last month, President Obama assured the Philippines that American military support is "ironclad," though he left vague whether the U.S. would come to the aid of the Philippines in its island disputes.
|Representative Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.)|
Capitol Police are currently undertaking “an active, open investigation” following e-mail threats toward Representative Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) for his role as chairman of the special House panel investigating the September 2012 Benghazi attacks.
Politico reports that it, along with other news organizations, received two e-mails on Tuesday that threatened Gowdy would be harmed for leading the select committee.
|Could a president depicted in this manner-- by the press-- possibly let you down?|
North Korea has developed nuclear weapons capable of being launched on its ballistic missile forces, according to a new report by a defense analyst.
The Obama administration is seeking to hide the fact that North Korea possesses nuclear missile warheads, according to a report by Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic analyst and director for forces policy at the office of the secretary of defense. Schneider’s statement came in a report published April 28 in the journal Comparative Strategy.
According to the 16-page report, “The North Korean Nuclear Threat to the United States,” the Defense Intelligence Agency stated in an unclassified assessment made public a year ago that “DIA assesses with moderate confidence the North [Korean government] currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles.”
“This is disturbing news,” the report says. “The North Korean regime is one of the most fanatic, paranoid, and militaristic dictatorships on the planet. … While North Korea has long made occasional nuclear attack threats, the scope, magnitude, and frequency of these threats have vastly increased in 2013.”
North Korea has in the recent months issued provocative threats to carry out nuclear strikes on U.S. cities and against American allies.
The report on the North’s nuclear warheads stated that the assessment of a missile-delivered nuclear strike capability is not new.
Based on a declassified 2001 National Intelligence estimate, North Korea’s Taepodong-2 ICBM can deliver a payload of several hundred kilograms up to 6,200 miles, distance enough to hit Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of the western Untied States.
“If the North uses a third stage similar to the one used on the Taepodong-1 in 1998 in a ballistic missile configuration, then the Taepodong-2 could deliver a several-hundred-kg payload up to 15,000 km—sufficient to strike all of North America,” the report said.
North Korea also has acquired Chinese-made transporter-erector launchers that are now deployed with a new road-mobile KN-08 ICBM.
The Associated Press reported Monday that Gen. Herbert Carlisle, Commander of United States Air Forces in the Pacific, acknowledged a significant increase in the activities by Russian long-range strategic aircraft flying along the California coast.
There was no comment about whether the aircraft were nuclear capable, but it has not been since the Cold War ended in the early 1990s that Russian patrols have skirted the West Coast and California.
Gen. Herbert J. "Hawk" Carlisle is the Commander of Pacific Air Forces; Air Component Commander for U.S. Pacific Command; and Executive Director, Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. As the PACAF, he is responsible for Air Force activities spread over half the globe in a command that supports 45,000 Airmen serving principally in Japan, Korea, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam.
Speaking Monday, May 5th at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a bipartisan Washington DC think tank, General Carlisle said there had been long-range Russian air patrols to the coast of California and a circumnavigation of the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. He noted that a U.S. F-15 fighter jet intercepted a Russian strategic bomber that had flown to Guam.
General Carlisle linked the increased activity and incursions to the situation in the Ukraine. He said Russia was demonstrating its capabilities and gathering intelligence on U.S. military exercises.
He further admitted that there has been a sharp increase in Russian air patrols around Japanese islands and Korea. General Carlisle added that there was more Russian ship activity in the area, too.
|"Would you stop arguing and just give in to my will?!"|
If the president wants to witness a refutation of his assertion that the survival of the Affordable Care Act is assured, come Thursday he should stroll the 13 blocks from his office to the nation’s second-most important court, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. There he can hear an argument involving yet another constitutional provision that evidently has escaped his notice. It is the origination clause, which says: “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.”
The ACA passed the Senate on a party-line vote, and without a Democratic vote to spare, after a series of unsavory transactions that purchased the assent of several shrewdly extortionate Democrats. What will be argued on Thursday is that what was voted on — the ACA — was indisputably a revenue measure and unquestionably did not originate in the House, which later passed the ACA on another party-line vote.
The “exaction” — Roberts’s word — “looks,” he laconically said, “like a tax in many respects.” It is collected by the IRS, and the proceeds go to the Treasury for the general operations of the federal government, not to fund a particular program. This surely makes the ACA a revenue measure.
Did it, however, originate in the House? Of course not.
In October 2009, the House passed a bill that would have modified a tax credit for members of the armed forces and some other federal employees who were first-time home buyers — a bill that had nothing to do with health care. Two months later the Senate “amended” this bill by obliterating it. The Senate renamed it and completely erased its contents, replacing them with the ACA’s contents.
Case law establishes that for a Senate action to qualify as a genuine “amendment” to a House-passed revenue bill, it must be “germane to the subject matter of the [House] bill.” The Senate’s shell game — gutting and replacing the House bill — created the ACA from scratch. The ACA obviously flunks the germaneness test, without which the House’s constitutional power of originating revenue bills would be nullified.
The ACA’s defenders say its tax is somehow not quite a tax because it is not primarily for raising revenue but for encouraging certain behavior (buying insurance). But the origination clause, a judicially enforceable limit on the taxing power, would be effectively erased from the Constitution if any tax with any regulatory — behavior-changing — purpose or effect were exempt from the clause.
|Quite the recovery, huh? (Graphic from Zero Hedge)|
Job creation accelerated in April as the U.S. economy added 288,000 new positions, while the unemployment rate plummeted to 6.3 percent amid a sharp drop in the workforce.
Economists had been anticipating 210,000 new jobs and a 6.6 percent rate.
Despite the big number, not all the news was good: The headline rate tumbled as 806,000 people left the civilian labor force, a development one market strategist called "shocking." The labor force participation rate slumped to 62.8 percent, its worst of the year and near 35-year lows. Also, the average work week was unchanged at 34.5 hours, as were average hourly earnings at $24.31. [emphasis mine]
|Why is Putin so bold? Has he not seen Obama being depicted in the manner of an Eastern Orthodox Saint?|
Barack Obama’s 949-word response on Monday to a question about foreign-policy weakness showed the president at his worst: defensive, irritable, contradictory, and at times detached from reality. It began with a complaint about negative coverage on Fox News, when, in fact, it was the New York Times front page that featured Obama’s foreign-policy failures, most recently the inability to conclude a trade agreement with Japan and the collapse of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Middle East negotiations.
Add to this the collapse of not one but two Geneva conferences on Syria, American helplessness in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine, and the Saudi king’s humiliating dismissal of Obama within two hours of talks — no dinner — after Obama made a special 2,300-mile diversion from Europe to see him, and you have an impressive litany of serial embarrassments.
Obama’s first rhetorical defense, as usual, was to attack a straw man: “Why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force?”
Everybody? Wasn’t it you, Mr. President, who decided to attack Libya under the grand Obama doctrine of “responsibility to protect” (helpless civilians) — every syllable of which you totally contradicted as 150,000 were being slaughtered in Syria?
And wasn’t attacking Syria for having crossed your own chemical-weapons red line also your idea? Before, of course, you retreated abjectly, thereby marginalizing yourself and exposing the United States to general ridicule.
Or does Obama really believe that Putin’s thinking [or, I would argue, the leader of any other country such as North Korea, China, Iran, etc.] would be altered less by anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons in Ukrainian hands than by the State Department’s comical #UnitedforUkraine Twitter campaign?
Obama appears to think so. Which is the source of so much allied anxiety: Obama really seems to believe that his foreign policy is succeeding.
Ukraine has already been written off. But Eastern Europe need not worry. Obama understands containment. He recently dispatched 150 American ground troops to Poland and each of the Baltic states. You read correctly: 150. Each. [emphasis mine]
|Pic from Breitbart post linked below|
Oregon police were called to the scene of an impromptu dance party on Monday afternoon that got a little too wild be going on in public.
According to police, Christie Valazquez Coura went to Beaverton City Hall to pay a fine with two friends, Brittany Medak and Leokham Yothsombath.
After Coura paid the fine, the three women went out to the parking lot and began twerking, the Oregonian reported.
During the dance party, Medak allegedly began urinating between cars in the parking lot while Yothsombath recorded the whole thing with her cellphone.
A court employee called the Beaverton police and the trio was arrested on multiple charges including disorderly conduct, cocaine and methamphetamine possession, and offensive littering.
Medak and Coura are 20, while Yothsombath is 22.
The Beaverton Police Department is clarifying charges against three women arrested near City Hall on Monday after witnesses saw some of them twerking outside the building and one allegedly urinating in the parking lot and officers found drugs in their possession.
The department was contacted several times by the public Tuesday with questions about the arrests, said Officer Mike Rowe, a Beaverton police spokesman, particularly about the charges of offensive littering and disorderly conduct.
"Some people just couldn't wrap their heads around how urinating in the parking lot is offensive littering," Rowe said.
The department has listed the Oregon Revised Statutes for both misdemeanor offenses on its Facebook page. For the record, the department says, one woman was charged with offensive littering for urinating in a public place and two of the women face disorderly conduct charges because of the disturbance their alleged actions caused.
Twerking is not illegal in Beaverton, Rowe said.