Saturday, July 25, 2015

Obama Pledges to Use Last 18 Months in Office Pushing Gun Control

( – President Obama on Thursday pledged to use his last 18 months in office to work on gun control, calling it “the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied.”
“If you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied, it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient, common-sense gun safety laws – even in the face of repeated mass killings,” he told the BBC in an interview.
“And if you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it’s less than 100. If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it’s in the tens of thousands," Obama continued.
“For us not to be able to resolve that issue has been something that is distressing, but it is not something that I intend to stop working on in the remaining 18 months.”
In the U.S., at least 34 Americans have been killed in terror attacks since 9/11. Those attacks include the 2009 killing of 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and the Chattanooga, Tennessee shootings last week which cost the lives of four U.S. Marines and a sailor.
Abroad, another 363 U.S. citizens have been killed in terror attacks since 9/11, according to data accumulated from State Department country reports on terrorism – or in years where data is incomplete, from the department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs’ record of citizens killed due to “terrorist action.”
The annual breakdown of terrorist fatalities abroad is 24 in 2014, 16 in 2013, 10 in 2012, 17 in 2011, 15 in 2010, 9 in 2009, 33 in 2008, 19 in 2007, 28 in 2006, 56 in 2005, 74 in 2004, 35 in 2003 and 27 in 2002.


At the annual NetRoots Nation gathering, two leading progressive candidates for the Democrat nomination were booed and heckled by protesters. The event could easily be remembered as a water-shed moment that confines the Democrat Party, at least in the near-term, to a weak national party that is only competitive in certain regions of the country.

NetRoots Nation is a conference of the Democrat Party’s most progressive and left-wing activists and bloggers. As part of its meeting, NetRoots hosted a “Presidential Town Hall” featuring socialist Vermont 
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

 and progressive former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Few national political figures have embraced the full kaleidoscope of leftist policy proposals as eagerly as Sanders and O’Malley. The panel was even moderated by a celebrated leftist journalist who is also famously an illegal immigrant. Only a drum-circle and piped-in scents of patchouli were missing from what ought to have been a leftist dream-team of Presidential politics.
For the NetRoots activist crowd, though, it wasn’t enough. The event was loudly interrupted by a throng of activist from #BlackLivesMatter who challenged the panels’ commitment to progressive change. Both O’Malley and Sanders were flummoxed, with Sanders, at one point, asking the illegal immigrant moderator if he had “control” of the event.
O’Malley tried to address the activists by assuring them that, of course, “black lives matter.” He went on to make the equally true statement that “all lives matter.” For this “gaffe,” he had to make an awkward apology tour.
In the aftermath of the debacle, both the Sanders and O’Malley campaigns sought one-on-one meetings with the organizers of the #BlackLivesMatter protest group.
The entire episode could have been a farce out of a Tom Wolfe novel, but is, in fact, a sad reality facing today’s Democrat Party.
After more than a decade of cynically manipulating class and race rhetoric for short-term political gain, the Democrat Party faces a growing cadre of activists who bought into the rhetoric. For them, only the most extreme leftist or progressive policies will satisfy their political blood-lust.
In this brave new world, all lives matter, but some matter more than others.
For the past six years, the media have been obsessed with concern-trolling over whether a resurgent conservative movement would push the Republican Party “too far to the right.” The Establishment Republican class, fueled by its donors at the US Chamber and other corporate groups, have bought into this narrative.
While this silly debate has played out in the salons of 6th Avenue, K Street and Capital Hill, a far more dramatic political story has unfolded.
Since Obama won the Presidency, the Democrat party has been eliminated from large swathes of the country. When Obama was sworn in in 2009, Democrats controlled over 30 Governors’ mansions. After the 2014 elections, they hold just 18. They have been wiped out in the South and most of the Midwest.
The current political make-up of Congressional and state legislative seats is even more dramatic. Outside of the coasts and urban areas, the Democrat party is simply not competitive in most of the country.
“The national Democratic Party’s brand makes it challenging for Democrats in red states oftentimes and I hope that going forward, the leaders at the national level will be mindful of that and they will understand that they can’t govern the country without Democrats being able to win races in red states,” Paul Davis, who lost a close race against Kansas GOP Gov. Sam Brownback last year, told Politico.
Obama won office largely on the strength of historic levels of voter turnout by minorities and very young voters. Even with those high levels of turnout, he would have lost if the GOP hadn’t failed to motivate working class white voters to support its candidates.
The GOP presently has at least a decent chance of nominating a candidate conservative enough to attract working class voters. If it does, the Democrats will again need historic turnouts from minorities and college-age voters to be competitive nationally. It is not at all clear that any candidate other than Obama has that electoral power.
It isn’t even clear that Obama himself still has that draw. Obama’s last-minute campaign push for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in his political home base wasn’t enough to save Rahm from an historic run-off. Rahm was crushed in the very same minority precincts where Obama campaigned.
Rahm ultimately survived his run-off with a deluge of campaign spending and strong support from Republican voters, but, for Democrats, it was a clear warning shot that their activist and minority base wants far more change than the party is willing to deliver. Even attempting to deliver than change will further alienate the party from a large majority of the voting public.
Vincent Sheehan, who lost the South Carolina Governor’s race to Republican Nikki Haley, worries that recent party rhetoric reflects an “antagonism toward or a hostility toward the moderate elements of the Democratic Party.”
If self-described socialist, former activist organizer, Bernie Sanders is deemed to passive or even moderate for this new breed of progressive activists, then the long-nightmare of the Democrat Party is just beginning.

The Ideologue: Review: Mark Moyar, ‘Strategic Failure’ and Colin Dueck, ‘The Obama Doctrine’

In the fall of 2009, a new book captured the attention of President Obama’s national security staff.
Lessons in Disaster, an account of Lyndon Johnson’s decision-making during the Vietnam War as seen through the experiences of McGeorge Bundy, his national security adviser, became the “must-read book for Obama’s war team,” wrote George Stephanopoulos. Obama’s aides were enmeshed in a debate about how to fulfill their boss’ campaign pledge of winning the “good war” in Afghanistan, and they found Lessons—authored by scholar Gordon Goldstein—particularly instructive.
Goldstein’s key insight was that Johnson’s military advisers had led him astray. Gen. William Westmoreland, U.S. commander in Vietnam, urged Johnson to bolster the U.S. presence to crush North Vietnam, a strategy that resulted in a protracted and costly war of attrition.
Already suspicious of the military, the Obama team seized on a narrative that suited its interests. The president proceeded to overrule his generals and defense advisers by sending a smaller surge force of 30,000 troops to Afghanistan and pledging to withdraw them in eighteen months—just before the president’s 2012 reelection campaign. Critics argued that the Taliban and al Qaeda would simply wait out the eventual exit of U.S. forces. Robert Gates, defense secretary at the time and a senior official for eight presidents, wrote in his memoir that “this major national security debate had been driven more by the White House staff and by domestic politics than any other in my entire experience.”
Goldstein’s history, giddily consumed by White House staff and applied to contemporary debates, was in fact “highly deficient,” writes Mark Moyar, a historian of the Vietnam War and consultant to the U.S. military, in Strategic Failure:
Johnson’s generals had recommended intensified bombing of North Vietnam and insertion of U.S. ground forces into Laos to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail in order to avoid protracted bloodletting, but civilian leaders had rejected those options based on doubts about their strategic risks and returns. Postwar disclosures from North Vietnamese sources would prove those doubts to have been unwarranted; North Vietnamese leaders believed that the actions recommended by the U.S. military would indeed have crippled North Vietnam. […]
The lesson the White House should have drawn from this historical episode was that civilian leaders would do well to listen closely to military experts before making decisions.
The significance of the Goldstein book for the ensuing Afghanistan debate encapsulates Moyar’s critique of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. Obama and his team misunderstood U.S. military history, harbored an ideological distrust toward leaders of the armed forces—and, in addition, dramatically reduced the defense budget. The administration also favored the “subordination of policy to politics” in national security decision-making and relied on “light footprint” and “smart power” strategies that harmed U.S. interests overseas, he writes. He principally focuses on decisions in Obama’s first term that helped produce a regional maelstrom in the Middle East.
Moyar gives careful attention to Iraq, where Obama said the Bush administration had waged a “dumb war.” After a largely successful surge of American troops that Obama had opposed, U.S. forces had remained in Iraq to provide stability and prevent a fragile democracy from splintering along sectarian lines. U.S. military pressure convinced Nouri al-Maliki, the Shiite prime minister, to refrain from jailing Sunni political opponents and engaging in battles against the Kurds. But the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that permitted the U.S. troop presence was set to expire in 2011. The Obama administration decided to back Maliki in the 2010 parliamentary election—despite his factional tendencies and close ties with neighboring Iran—against a more secular and nationalist candidate, in the hope that he would continue a close partnership. “I’ll bet you my vice presidency Maliki will extend the SOFA,” Joe Biden said at the time.

ISIS’ Worst Nightmare Just Got In The War

A Turkish Air Force A400M tactical transport aircraft is parked at Incirlik airbase in the southern city of Adana, Turkey, July 24, 2015. Turkey has agreed to allow U.S. planes to launch air strikes against Islamic State militants from the U.S. air base at Incirlik, close to the Syrian border, U.S. defense officials said on Thursday.  REUTERS/Murad Sezer
Turkish planes bombed Islamic State targets for the first time Friday, representing the country’s first armed foray into the conflict against the group.
The airstrikes, which reportedly destroyed three terrorist sites in Syria, represent a serious change in the country’s approach to ISIS. Just months ago, Turkey was attracting criticism for its lax enforcement of the 500-mile border it shares with Syria, which countless jihadi groups use for smuggling fighters to the front lines of battle.
The announcement came just a day after reports emerged of American pilots conducting raids out of two Turkish airbases for the first time. Turkey’s government confirmed the reports Friday, stating that “Turkey and the US have decided to further deepen their ongoing cooperation in the fight” against ISIS. (RELATED: Pentagon: Airstrike Killed Infamous Syrian Al-Qaida Leader)
Previously, the airbases only hosted U.S. surveillance drones, not aircraft with striking capability.
On Monday, a suicide bomb killed 32 people in the southern town of Suruç. The town’s population is majority-Kurdish; while Kurds have been among the strongest fighters against ISIS in Syria, Turkey is suspicious of its own Kurds’ aspirations to independence.
In the days since, Turkey has cracked down on suspected Islamic State sympathizers, as well as Kurdish nationalists and radical leftist groups.
The United States has been pressuring a hesitant Turkey to join its coalition against Islamic State since it first began bombing the group last summer. Monday’s attack may have precipitated the government’s response.
But government statements claimed the air raids were in response to gunfire Thursday by Islamic State militants against a Turkish military installation, which killed a soldier. It is unclear whether Turkey will continue to participate in the campaign after an initial series of attacks.\

Iranian leader tweets graphic of Obama with gun to head

Iran's supreme leader tweeted a graphic Saturday that appears to depict President Obama holding a gun to his head as Britain relaxed its travel advice to the nation, citing decreased hostility under the Iranian government.
"US president has said he could knock out Iran’s military. We welcome no war, nor do we initiate any war, but.." reads the caption above the tweet sent by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on @khamenei_ir, his English language account.
US president has said he could knock out Iran’s military. We welcome no war, nor do we initiate any war, but..


Clinton = Higher Taxes

In An Effort To Appease Liberals "Hungry" For Redistribution, Clinton Will Pledge To Raise Taxes


Today, Hillary Clinton Will Release A Policy Proposal On Capital-Gains During A Speech In New York City. "Instead, Clinton is said to propose multiple levels of long-term. For assets held at least two years, the tax would be more than 28 percent, the Wall Street Journal reports, up from today's 23.8 percent. If assets are held for five years, the rate would be lower than that. (We may learn how much lower on Friday, when Clinton is set to release a tax-policy blueprint.)" (Paula Dwyer, Op-Ed, "Clinton Would Complicate The Capital-Gains Tax,"Bloomberg, 7/23/15)
According To The Clinton Campaign, The Goal Is To "Change Behavior, Not Increase Revenue." "The campaign didn't estimate how much in additional taxes the proposal would raise. The official said the primary goal is to change behavior, not increase revenue." (Laura Meckler and John D. McKinnon, "Clinton To Push Revamp Of Capital-Gains Tax Rates," The Wall Street Journal, 7/20/15)
Clinton's Adjusted Rates Would Be Higher Than The 28 Percent Proposed Earlier Than Obama And Perhaps Be As High As The Regular Income-Tax Rate . "For those held just a little longer-likely two or three years-the current capital-gains tax rate of 23.8% for top earners would rise. The Clinton rate, which hasn't been finalized, would be higher than the 28% President Barack Obama proposed earlier this year for the highest earners … The Clinton campaign hasn't ruled out taxing such investments at the regular income-tax rate.." (Laura Meckler and John D. McKinnon, "Clinton To Push Revamp Of Capital-Gains Tax Rates," The Wall Street Journal, 7/20/15)

Clinton's Proposal Is A "Change Of Heart" From Her Previous Position On The Capital-Gains Tax

Clinton "Hinted" At Her "Change Of Heart" On Capital Gains Earlier This Year."Clinton, who will say on Monday that the best way to increase the size of the U.S. economy is to increase middle-class people's incomes according to her campaign, hinted at her change of heart on capital gains at a campaign event in April." (Luciana Lopez, "Clinton To Propose Capital Gains Tax Reform: Campaign Document," Reuters, 7/13/15)
Clinton's Plan "Appears To Be A Shift" From Her Position In 2008 When She "Vowed Not To Raise Capital Gains Tax Rates Above 20 Percent If At All.""Clinton's plan to revamp such rates appears to be a shift from her position in 2008, when she last sought the party's nomination and vowed not to raise capital gains tax rates above 20 percent, if at all." (Susan Heavey, "Clinton's Capital Gains Tax Plan To Urge Focus On Long-Term Growth," Reuters , 7/20/15)
  • Clinton Said That She Wouldn't Raise The Capital Gains Tax Rate Above 20 Percent, "If I Raised It At All." ABC NEWS' CHARLIE GIBSON: "The question was about capital gains tax. Would you say, 'No, I'm not going to raise capital gains taxes?'" CLINTON: "I wouldn't raise it above the 20 percent if I raised it at all. I would not raise it above what it was during the Clinton administration." (Hillary Clinton, 2008 Democratic Primary Debate, Philadelphia, PA, 4/16/08)
During A 2008 Primary Debate Clinton Stood By Legislation Signed By Bill Clinton That Lowered The Maximum Taxation Rate On Capital Gains From 28 Percent To 20 Percent. "In a primary debate that year, she stood by legislation signed by her husband, Bill Clinton, in 1997 when he was president. That law lowered the maximum taxation rate on capital gains, which are the profits made on selling capital assets such as shares or real estate, from 28 percent to 20 percent. In 2003, the maximum rate was lowered further still to 15 percent under President George W. Bush." (Luciana Lopez, "Clinton To Propose Capital Gains Tax Reform: Campaign Document," Reuter s, 7/13/15)
Clinton Claimed She Was "Agnostic" About A Tax Rate Change On Capital Gains And Dividends That Was Enacted In 2003. BLOOMBERG ANCHOR: "Are there any of the President's tax cuts that you would maintain, let me ask you one specific, the 15 percent tax rate [on] capital gains and dividends, very important to folks on Wall Street right now, folks right now in your state." CLINTON: "Oh I know, I'm asked about it often, and, what I tell the people who ask me is look, I'm agnostic about that." (Bloomberg News' "Taking Stock," 3/15/07)

Clinton's Tax Hike Proposal Is Just Another Way She Is Trying To Meet The Demands Of Liberals Who Are "Hungry For Social Spending And Redistribution"

By Raising Capital Gains Tax Rates, Clinton Will Meet The "Key Demands Of Liberals Who Are Hungry For Social Spending And Redistribution." " By raising tax rates on medium-term capital gains, Clinton will raise a bunch of tax revenue, and she will raise it overwhelmingly from high-income individuals. These are key demands of liberals, who are hungry for social spending and redistribution." (Matthew Yglesias, "Hillary Clinton's Capital Gains Tax Reform, Explained," Vox, 7/20/15)
Clinton, In A "Pander" To The Left, Is Hoping To "Demonstrate To Elizabeth Warren's Fan Base That She Can Soak The Rich And Limit Wall Street's Winnings." "She wants to discourage short-term thinking (that's good), raise tax revenue to fund new government programs (unlikely), and demonstrate to Elizabeth Warren's fan base that she can soak the rich and limit Wall Street's winnings, too (a pander)." (Paula Dwyer, Op-Ed, "Clinton Would Complicate The Capital-Gains Tax,"Bloomberg, 7/23/15)


Former Senior Tax Economist For Bill Clinton's Administration, Lenoard Burman, Said His General Impression Of Clinton's Tax Plan Was "Deep Skepticism." "'My general impression is deep skepticism,' Leonard Burman, director of the non-partisan think tank the Tax Policy Center and a former senior tax economist in President Bill Clinton's Treasury Department, said in a telephone interview." (Jonathan Allen, "Clinton's Capital Gains Tax Plan Aims At Long-Term Investment," Reuters , 7/23/15)
  • Burman: "I Don't See The Logic" In Clinton's Tax Hike Proposal. "'Frankly, I don't see the logic in trying to encourage people to hold assets for longer than they want to,' he said. He said there were already strong incentives for individuals to hold onto assets, and the dividends they can produce, for a long time. He also noted that vast amounts of assets are held by entities, including non-profits, foreigners and retirement funds, not subject to the individual capital gains tax. (Jonathan Allen, "Clinton's Capital Gains Tax Plan Aims At Long-Term Investment," Reuters , 7/23/15)
Empirical Studies "Struggle" To Confirm The Idea That Tax Rates On Investment Income Are An "Important Driver" Of Investment Activity. "Empirical studies also struggle to confirm the idea that tax rates on investment income are an important driver of real investment activity. A recent, statistically sophisticated study of the 2003 dividend tax cut by Danny Yagan, for example, finds that 'the tax cut caused zero change in corporate investment.'" (Matthew Yglesias, "Hillary Clinton's Capital Gains Tax Reform, Explained," Vox, 7/20/15)
"Changing How Things Are Taxed At The Investor Level Will Make No Difference At All" To The "Time Horizons Over Which The Corporations Will Invest.""Changing how things are taxed at the investor level will make no difference at all to that: nor will they make any difference at all to the time horizons over which the corporations invest. This is a non-solution based on an ignorance how the markets work. How unusual that Hillary should fall for it…"(Tim Worstall, "Hillary Clinton's Capital Gains Changes Won't Make A Blind Bit Of Difference To Short-Termism,"Forbes , 7/20/15)
Economists Christophe Chamley And Kenneth Judd Concluded That The "Socially Optimal Level Of Investment Taxation Is Zero" And That "People Who Derive All Their Income From Wages Benefit In The Long Run From Not Taxing Capital Income." "The economics-y reason is a result in theoretical macroeconomics stemming from work by Christophe Chamley and Kenneth Judd that shows that under appropriate assumptions, the socially optimal level of investment taxation is zero. The result involves a lot of math, but the intuitive idea is that the less you tax investments in capital goods, the more capital goods you get. And the more capital goods you have, the higher your wages will be. Consequently, even people who derive all their income from wages benefit in the long run from not taxing capital income." (Matthew Yglesias, "Hillary Clinton's Capital Gains Tax Reform, Explained,"Vox, 7/20/15)
Clinton's Capital-Gains Tax Rate Hikes Are "Not Going To Make A Blind Bit Of Difference" In Countering The Short Term Nature Of Decision Making In The Marketplace. "The aim being to make people invest for the longer term, and counter what is seen as the dreadfully short term nature of most decision making in the marketplace. It's not going to make a blind bit of difference of course for the suggestion itself ignores a very basic economic fact about investment markets: they are forward looking." (Tim Worstall, "Hillary Clinton's Capital Gains Changes Won't Make A Blind Bit Of Difference To Short-Termism," Forbes , 7/20/15)

Laura Ingraham not thrilled by airport’s all-gender restroom open to anyone regardless of expression

Face it: It’s 2015, same-sex marriage is legal nationwide, and Caitlyn Jenner was just presented with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards. It shouldn’t be too surprising, if not a little shocking, to see a transgender woman walk proudly into a public ladies room.

What we hadn’t considered, though, was the idea of special “all gender restrooms” and just exactly what the signs would look like. Now we know, thanks to a photo posted by Laura Ingraham.

Lord help us. San Diego Airport Bathroom Signage. Ladies, is this really what you want?

Popular Posts