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Daily Digest for Friday
October 17, 2014
“A council to a magistrate, who is himself responsible for what he does, are generally nothing better than a clog upon his good intentions, are often the instruments and accomplices of his bad, and are almost always a cloak to his faults.” –Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 70, 1788
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
The CDC Is Like Any Other Bureaucracy
The House hearing on the response to Ebola pulled the curtain away to show a crumbling administrative state that can’t handle a health threat. Centers for Disease Control Director Tom Frieden said, “We know how to control Ebola. … But there are no shortcuts in the control of Ebola. And it is not easy to control it. To protect the United States, we have to stop it at the source.” But can the CDC control the disease as well as it would like? Frieden told the House that about 150 people enter the United States from Ebola-infected countries per day and the CDC screens 94% of them. And when it comes to treating the disease, a nurse at the Texas hospital that treated the first Ebola patient in the U.S. alleges the hospital did not take adequate safety measures. While nurses wore two layers of gloves, their jury-rigged safety equipment left their chins and necks bare. For most of the American population, Ebola has been hyped up and sensationalized, but it has highlighted the limitations of a bloated, ineffectual government.
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U.S. Dumps Free Syrian Army as Ally
Arm the moderate Syrian rebels, they said. Then we’ll be able to counter ISIL effectively, they said. Well, say goodbye to the Free Syrian Army as an American ally. “John Allen, the retired Marine general in charge of coordinating the U.S.-led coalition’s response to the Islamic State, confirmed Wednesday what Syrian rebel commanders have complained about for months: that the United States is ditching the old Free Syrian Army and building its own local ground force to use primarily in the fight against the Islamist extremists,” reports Stars and Stripes. The reasons are simple and entirely predictable. The FSA suffered from “a lack of cohesion, uneven fighting skills and frequent battlefield coordination with the al-Qaida loyalists of the Nusra Front.” The Obama administration is going to have a tough time explaining how, without American boots on the ground, we’re going to select, form and train an army to oppose ISIL in Syria. More…
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Texas AG to Houston: Stop Assaulting Religious Liberty
The city of Houston recently subpoenaed five pastors for all sermons and correspondence dealing with gender disorientation pathology, or mentioning Houston Mayor Annise Parker, a lesbian. The city was effectively targeting any religious objection to its recent Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). The city poked the bear, however, provoking a groundswell of opposition to this constitutional abuse. That now includes a harshly worded letter from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is running for governor. “Whether you intend it to be so or not, your action is a direct assault on the religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment,” Abbott wrote to Houston City Attorney David Feldman. “You should immediately instruct your lawyers to withdraw the city’s subpoenas.” Mayor Parker implied the city would back off, but it has yet to do so. More…
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Navy Discharges Biden’s Son for Drug Use
This has got to be awkward for Joe Biden. For years, he has championed a tough “inherent resolve” in the war on drugs. When he was a young whippersnapper senator during the Reagan years, Biden advocated for a “drug czar” to lead the charge against Colombian snow, Mexican brown and Mary Jane. And when Biden made it to the White House, even when other Democrats fell away and admitted the war on drugs was too draconian, the number two Democrat still pushed the Obama administration towards tougher drug policy. But now, the U.S. Navy has discharged Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, because he tested positive for cocaine use. Biden’s office is refusing to comment, saying Hunter is a private citizen. We wonder what Joe thinks of his policies now — of the tough incarceration rates, of the SWAT teams — since his own son has fallen into the net Biden helped weave. And then imagine for a moment Biden was a Republican. More…
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Where’s Leftmedia’s Obsession Over Team Obama Scandals?
Remember the 2006 midterm election, when Democrats and their media lapdogs railed against the “Republican Culture of Corruption” all the way to taking control of Congress? Well, Election Day 2014 is just around the corner, and there’s no shortage of scandals to fill up the prime time TV slots. And over the last six weeks, mainstream media outlets have been doing exactly that — just not with the ones that risk electoral damage for Democrats. Newsbusters’ Geoffrey Dickens reports, “Since September 4 (the start of the NFL regular season) through October 15 the networks, on their evening and morning shows, devoted a total of 171 (NBC 71, CBS 55, ABC 45) stories or briefs to five NFL players (Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Jonathan Dwyer, Ray McDonald, Greg Hardy) embroiled in domestic abuse cases. Number of stories on Obama scandals over that same time period? Just three.” Yes, three — a 57:1 ratio. Are the domestic abuse cases involving NFL players worthy of such 24/7 attention? Put it this way: One wishes the MSM would devote as much attention to other cultural issues and their root causes. Moreover, Dickens ponders, “[D]oesn’t the state of the body politic deserve at least the same amount of coverage as the state of the NFL?” More…
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Democrats Run From Obama, but Can the GOP Ride the Wave?
The November midterm election is now less than three weeks away. Barack Hussein Obama is so toxic that most Democrats want voters to believe they hardly know him, didn’t vote for him and will steadfastly oppose his agenda. Republicans, meanwhile, are making things harder on themselves than need be. So which party will come out on top?
Democrats are running like mad from Obama, who in his narcissistic fervor said recently, “Make no mistake: [My] policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.” He’s actually right, but Democrats would do most anything to make voters forget that inconvenient truth.
Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat trying to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, refused on multiple occasions to say whether she voted on Election Day for Obama — for whom she was a delegate at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. At first, she insisted, “You know, this election, uh, isn’t about the president.” Uh, yes it is.
She then tried to cloak her cowardice as somehow courageous. “I am not going to compromise a constitutional right” for a secret ballot, Grimes pontificated, “in order to curry favor on one or the other side, or for members of the media.” Translation: “Obama’s job approval rating in Kentucky is just 31% and I really don’t want a sound bite of me admitting I voted for him.”
By the way, as political analyst Jonah Goldberg observed, Grimes is hiding behind “a right she eagerly waives to tell people she supported Crooked Hillary Clinton in the primaries.”
Another Democrat in a tight, red-state race tried simply ignoring the question. “Did you vote for Barack Hussein Obama?” a reporter asked Michelle Nunn, who is running for Senate in Georgia. She remained silent and walked away, effectively pleading her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
But forget secret ballots and votes cast — some Democrats are willing not only to deny the president three times, but to brag on their opposition.
West Virginia Democrat candidate Natalie Tennant wants voters to know she’s going to “make sure President Barack Hussein Obama gets the message” that she opposes his war on coal. Grimes has dishonestly taken a similar line. Endangered Senate incumbents Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Mark Begich (D-AK) boast of bravely fighting the president’s oil drilling policies. Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, whose seat is also in serious jeopardy, declares his resolute opposition to Obama’s gun control agenda.
The government’s response to Ebola is also causing heartburn for Democrats. Bruce Braley, running for Senate in Iowa, said he was “greatly concerned … that the administration did not act fast enough.” Responding to such withering criticism, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest commended Braley as someone “willing to speak truth to power.” File that under “Endorsements You Don’t Want.”
Not to be outdone, Colorado’s Mark Udall was practically rattling his saber when he said, “Let me tell you, the White House, when they look down the front lawn, the last person they want to see coming is me.”
Settle down, tough guy. We’re sure the Secret Service would immediately step in should they see someone striding across the White House lawn.
In truth, these Democrat incumbents all faithfully voted in lockstep with the Obama agenda, be it financial regulations, the nuclear option for Senate confirmations, or ObamaCare. There’s no reason to think Democrat challengers wouldn’t also fall in line in Harry Reid’s Senate.
So will Republicans take advantage of Democrats’ plight in order to win the six seats required to control the Senate? Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia all loom as potential pickups, though a Republican sweep of those states is highly unlikely. Tellingly, however, the GOP’s biggest problem this cycle has been securing seats it already held. Georgia, Kansas and Kentucky have all been tougher battles than necessary. And with Kentucky being the seat of GOP leader Mitch McConnell, that’s a wake up call for the establishment.
An election win for the GOP will require unity and strategy. That means the “establishment” has to embrace conservatives and the party must advance a reason to win your vote. All they have to do is choose to ride the wave.
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Yes, Saddam Did Have Chemical Weapons
It’s been a decade since the original stated reason for our excursion to Iraq was more or less debunked. At least according to popular opinion. That reason was the biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction most intelligence experts, and even those out merely to score political points, such as Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, agreed were in Saddam Hussein’s possession. We long offered another possibility — relocation to Syria.
Yet as a New York Times report reveals, chemical WMDs were present in Iraq after the 2003 U.S. invasion (and remain today), and dozens of our troops were exposed. The article notes, “In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.”
The Times accuses the Pentagon of covering this up: “The American government withheld word about its discoveries even from troops it sent into harm’s way and from military doctors. The government’s secrecy, victims and participants said, prevented troops in some of the war’s most dangerous jobs from receiving proper medical care and official recognition of their wounds.”
One theory on this secrecy is that our government was afraid to reveal America’s role in helping to engineer these weapons. The U.S. designed these weapons (manufactured in Europe) in the 1980s, when Saddam Hussein was fighting Islamic fundamentalists in Iran.
All this could be a footnote in an otherwise rather successful mission were it not for two terrible truths — the Bush administration failed to adequately deal with several of these chemical WMD sites, and Barack Hussein Obama’s complete military withdrawal from Iraq left chemical weapons to the Islamic State, which may already be using them.
During the Iraq war, protocols for destruction and disposal of these mustard gas and sarin canisters were rarely followed due to adverse field conditions and the apparent desire to keep the story out of the media. (As National Review’s Jim Geraghty asks, though, “How is it that almost every other national-security secret leaks, but not this one?”) One would think that if the end result were to embarrass George W. Bush, the truth would have come out long ago.
The unaccounted for chemical weapons caches and other remnants from a long-ago conflict between Iraq and Iran take on a more frightening dimension when one considers that the Islamic State now controls these old weapons. The Times reports, “The United States government says the abandoned weapons no longer pose a threat. But nearly a decade of wartime experience showed that old Iraqi chemical munitions often remained dangerous when repurposed for local attacks in makeshift bombs, as insurgents did starting by 2004.”
But hearing this revelation about a Pentagon cover-up makes this claim a little less believable, does it not?
Hindsight is 20/20, but because of recent policy regarding Iraq, the end result of this grand game is that we’ve gone from having a tyrannical but relatively predictable and militarily weak dictator in Saddam Hussein to a fanatical and utterly unpredictable Islamic State controlling these weapon stockpiles. There’s no shortage of ISIL “martyrs” who would willingly expose themselves to the danger of converting those stockpiles into crude chemical weapons if only to know they would eventually do harm to Americans.
That’s the price we may pay for a lack of vigilance and discipline, pursuing political advantage over fidelity to the mission.
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TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
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OPINION IN BRIEF
Poet John Milton (1608-1674): “Here the great art lies, to discern in what the law is to be to restraint and punishment, and in what things persuasion only is to work.”
FRC’s Tony Perkins: “[I]t’s important that Americans understand [Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s attack on pastors] is not some kind of political aberration. This will be the norm in a brave new world where human sexuality is completely disconnected from biological reality. We’re just now beginning to see the impact on religious liberty from this cultural collision course President Barack Hussein Obama set us on by championing the redefinition of marriage. You can’t alter something like marriage that’s deeply rooted in history and tradition, not to mention nature, without the use of force. Now that force is starting to come against those who are unwilling to yield to this new order. But here’s what the Left doesn’t understand. The Bible-believing and preaching pastors have already yielded on this issue — to God. And that means they cannot and will not yield to government, regardless of how tyrannical it becomes.”
Columnist Linda Chavez: “Statistically, most of us have a far greater likelihood of dying of influenza this winter than Ebola. … Getting struck by lightning is likelier than catching Ebola. So far this year, 24 people have died from lightning strikes in the U.S.; one has died from Ebola. So why are we so afraid? Ironically, the very measures necessary to protect those in actual danger of contracting the disease frighten the rest of us. Photos of men and women covered in hazmat suits dominate the airwaves and front pages of newspapers. The streets of Dallas outside the patients’ apartments and the tarmac at the airport where patients are being transported look like scenes from a science fiction movie. … At one level, this phenomenon is nothing new. We saw it in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. We’ve seen it every time a new threat emerges — swine flu, bird flu, SARS, MRSA, even mad cow disease. People fear what they cannot see and do not understand. But worse, the media’s intense preoccupation with Ebola in the U.S. fuels fear. The attention focused on this story is simply disproportionate to its importance.”
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Burt Prelutsky: “When the late Thomas Duncan first visited the Dallas hospital, he had a 103 degree fever and he admitted he’d just been to Liberia, but he was sent home with nothing more than a few pain killers. Once he died of Ebola, it figures there would be those who claimed that racism was the reason he was treated in such cavalier fashion. Nonsense! So far as I can tell, it was simply ObamaCare in action.”
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