Saturday, April 19, 2014

In a new poll out yesterday we see that Americans are becoming less trusting of President Obama, and it seems there may be a new reason for many to worry about his honesty. At least three major governors are willing to step up and call out the president for his lies.

Governors Rick Perry, Rick Scott and Bobby Jindal all authored a letter together to the president about his latest act of political theatre. The Obama administration recently announced that the Medicare Advantage rates would experience a slight pay bump next year. But according to several insurance analysts, plan rates are expected to drop as much as 3.5 percent.

In their letter, the governors wrote, “This is on top of the 6 percent cut to fiscal year 2014 payments. Collectively, these cuts will significantly harm America’s seniors.”

Medicare Advantage is the private plan that offers Medicare benefits. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced last week that 2015 reimbursement rates would increase by .4 percent for Medicare Advantage. This announcement went against previous plans to cut funds to Medicare Advantage. This program provides coverage to almost 30 percent of all Medicare recipients.

If the planned cuts had actually gone into effect, it was expected that seniors would face premium increases and benefit reductions of $35 to $75 per month.

In their letter, the governors called on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to work with Congress in order to prevent any plan cuts. It is expected that this current “pardon” for the Medicare Advantage program will be short lived.

Hopefully the governors’ letter will have some sort of impact on the way policymaking goes in the future. Perhaps democrats will learn that protecting the elderly community is not an option. Their benefits need to be protected.
As finger-pointing and accusations tumble out about whether Russian nationalists or Ukrainian nationalist are responsible for flyers in eastern Ukraine demanding that Jews register with local municipalities, the most important thing is being lost in the shuffle.

Without Vladimir Putin stirring the embers of Russian nationalism in Crimea and in Ukraine into a flame, it wouldn’t have happened in the first place.

"We are skeptical about the flier's authenticity, but the instructions clearly recall the Nazi era and have the effect of intimidating the local Jewish community," U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League Director Abraham Foxman said in a written statement according to CNN.

Whether the fliers were distributed by pro-Russian nationalists attempting to discredit Ukrainian nationalists or by pro Ukrainian nationalists looking to discredit pro Russian nationalists hardly matters anymore.

No serious student of history can look at what’s going on with Russia and Ukraine, without drawing the parallels from Putin’s Ukrainian adventure to Adolf Hitler’s gambits in Austria, Czechoslovakia, and finally Poland.

In those cases Hitler claimed that Germans in each country were being oppressed and that it was his “historical” duty to stand up for Germans everywhere, gathering them together into 1000 year Reich.

This would be akin to the United States claiming all of Canada, but Quebec, on the grounds that Canadians come from the same racial stock as our descendants from Plymouth Rock.

How dare those Quebecers oppress those whitey Canadians!

That Germans in Austria, Czechoslovakia and finally Poland were also victims to Hitler’s violence -- in addition to the Jews-- is likely of little solace to anyone in Ukraine.

As a person of Irish extraction—90% more or less-- I would not want to live under an Irish dictatorship here in the United States any more than I would want to live under an American dictatorship in Ireland.

I’m guessing the same is true for Russians in Ukraine.

"All is over,” said Winton Churchill after Neville Chamberlain gave over Czechoslovakia in Munich. “Silent, mournful, abandoned, broken, Czechoslovakia recedes into the darkness. We have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been derailed, and these terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies, 'Thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting'."

Churchill at the time introduced a discordant note; Parliament in Great Britain, and the Western democracies in general, we’re jubilant over “peace in our time”.

After all what was the cost except a few Jews more or less; a few liberal Germans; the most educated and enlightened elements of a country that was bright with culture?

As social scientist Peter Morici observed on the show with me the other day: “The real issue is that the Europeans never want to do anything that’s going to cost them anything. So Putin is willing to endure quite a bit of pain to get what he wants…and the Europeans are willing to endure virtually no pain.”

And for the administration here in the United States, the Jews in general are a pain to begin with, as Obama has demonstrated with almost a pathological consistency.

Make no mistake: If we were talking about a repressed Islamic minority in say Tunisia, or say Libya, or say Syria, Obama would be doing back flips to try to get them arms.

At the very least we know he’d sacrifice an ambassador or two to help them. O maybe even three.

Let’s face it, his term’s not over.

So why not, Mr. Obama, let’s arm the Jews in Ukraine?


Mr. Obama? Mr. Obama?

Are you asking: What difference does it make at this point?

Yeah, I thought you were too.

Pamela Geller, American Thinker: What’s Wrong with the Right 

This one is long overdue. I am still waiting for a response from Kathryn Lopez ….

By Pamela Geller  / Atlas Shrugs

National Review Online took another gratuitous shot at me Thursday in an article defending Ayaan Hirsi Ali, saying: “Hirsi Ali is no Pamela Geller. On the contrary, for her whole life, Hirsi Ali has used anger as a catalyst to great good.” Is it necessary to smear me in order to defend Hirsi Ali? And this is not the first time that NRO has allowed insults and defamation against me and other freedom fighters to run unedited. I hardly know why. But I do know that NRO has no guts, no spine, and no conviction.

What’s more, Hirsi Ali has said things about Islam that I have never said, yet somehow she is acceptable and I am not. How does Rogan intellectually wrestle with the irreconcilable? His premise is completely and utterly false; on what does he make these ugly assertions?

Each time NRO gratuitously smeared me, I politely asked Kathryn Lopez for an opportunity to respond, and was ignored. By contrast, in similar circumstances, even the most left-leaning sites have responded to my queries. Take, for example, the National Post and Haaretz: both ran vicious attack pieces on me and while they didn’t give me the same space or column inches, I was able to respond in 250 words. NRO won’t deign even to answer me.

The author of the latest NRO piece, Tom Rogan, retails sly slurs and baseless insults that are the stuff of CAIR fiction. Rogan seems to think that I have not “used anger as a catalyst to great good” because I opposed the Ground Zero Mosque. Yet so did 70% of Americans; are they wretched souls as well? Rogan also lambastes the now mortally wounded English Defense League (EDL), implying that I applauded its worst excesses and ignoring the fact that I publicly called for a cleansing of their ranks from actual racists and other unsavory characters. I supported their opposition to British jihadists and Islamic supremacists who were verbally attacking returning soldiers with cries of “Baby killers,” “Murderers” and the like. This is something British people should have just passively accepted?

Mark Steyn has parted company with NRO as well. He wrote in January: “As readers may have deduced from my absence at National Review Online and my termination of our joint representation, there have been a few differences between me and the rest of the team. The lesson of the last year is that you win a free-speech case not by adopting a don’t-rock-the-boat, keep-mum, narrow procedural posture but by fighting it in the open, in the bracing air and cleansing sunlight of truth and justice.”

Once again, the establishment right takes its marching orders from what the destroyers on the left dictate. The right consistently allows the left to destroy our most effective voices – Sarah Palin is a major example. Unequivocal voices like Palin’s are tarred and smeared, while the right instead offers up weak and meandering fools like John McCain – and stands by him even when he poses with al-Qaida leaders in Syria and insists that they’re “moderates.”

We see many come out in a burst of light, political supernovas like Allen West, Palin, and now Ted Cruz. But we also see the right abandon these same people when the left goes after them like the jackals and the vultures they are. Did the GOP establishment have Palin’s back? What did the GOP establishment do to defend Palin from the attacks by vultures in the media like the affable Eva Braun, aka Katie Couric, and the contemptible Charlie Gibson?

The leaders of the conservative establishment are clearly more comfortable with the weakest and most liberal figures on the right than they are with genuine conservatives. And then they abandon their flavor of the month as soon as the leftist sharks start circling.

This is how the establishment right makes it bones: on the bones of the principled right. This is how the establishment right gets legitimacy: by pandering to the left and selling out the clear, uncompromised voices on the right. Instead of destroying our philosophical enemies in the war of individualism vs. statism, the establishment right trims its message, then trims it some more, desperately hoping to appease leftists and their media lapdogs.

Is it any wonder that we can’t win elections? McCain? Romney? We can’t win until we find our spine. NRO best represents the abject failure on the right.

Why was NRO wrong to defame me in particular? Because I am fighting against the leftist/Islamic war against free speech – a topic of immense significance that I am sure gets scant mention at NRO. I am embroiled in three free-speech lawsuits at home and two abroad. I have successfully sued and won (with the able legal counsel of American Freedom Law Center). We have set precedent and written into history good law in the defense of freedom. The First Amendment is the foundation of this country and the conservative movement. NRO’s indifference to all that speaks volumes about where it really stands.

There’s a war raging, and the right thinks that if it doesn’t engage or doesn’t show up, then that war doesn’t exist. How irrational. If you don’t show up, you forfeit, and the right is forfeiting. Anytime someone takes a bold or brave stance against statism or collectivism, or against jihad and Sharia, they suffer withering attacks from both outside the movement and inside the movement.

The leadership on the right does not understand its own philosophy. They do not understand free markets, capitalism and individual rights. If they did, they would be more ferocious, fiercer and more courageous in the fight for freedom and equality of rights before the law against the second-handers, moochers, and looters on the left.

The right appears to be waiting for Godot. But he ain’t coming. The right is on life support at a time when it should be standing in defense of free speech. This most certainly should be our issue, our moment. There have been these moments in American history when right and wrong, good and evil were very clearly defined. The Republican Party was born at such a moment. We elected Lincoln at such a moment, and we took the country back from the slave party, the Democrats, at such a moment.

We need a moral and rational force to push back. We need a true “New Right.” NRO had an opportunity to start building it. Instead, it has been snuffed out and stifled by cowards, trimmers, and RINOs.

We need a fierce offensive under a banner of individual rights and morality. I believe that such an intellectual movement would seize the collective conscience of this country. But when that movement arises, it will be no thanks to NRO.

U.S. State Department “trolling” jihadists on social media: “As a psy-op tool, it’s pretty laughable”

/ Jihad Watch
140417150235-think-again-tweet-4-story-body“As a psy-op tool, it’s pretty laughable.” Indeed. Alberto Fernandez, coordinator of the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC), says: “The way I see it is we are participating in the marketplace of ideas.” He sees it wrong. Take the State tweet about the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas: “Destroying ancient culture out of hatred and backwardness are a feature of al Qaeda’s ideology.” An al Qaeda member is not going to be moved by that, for several reasons. Foremost among them is that he has no respect for “ancient culture,” and doesn’t think that destroying its artifacts is a manifestation of “hatred and backwardness.”

This is because the Qur’an suggests that the ruins of non-Muslim cultures are a sign of Allah’s punishment of those who rejected his truth: “Many were the Ways of Life that have passed away before you: travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who rejected Truth.” (Qur’an 3:137) This is one of the foundations of the Islamic idea that pre-Islamic civilizations, and non-Islamic civilizations, are all jahiliyya — the society of unbelievers, which is worthless. The State tweet shows no awareness of any of that, and proceeds from the assumption that al Qaeda members share certain values and priorities with non-Muslims that in fact they do not share: that ancient cultures have value in themselves, that one would want to destroy them only out of hatred and backwardness, etc.

This program is rendered useless by the State Department’s willful ignorance of Islam, and resolute denial of politically incorrect facts about Islamic texts and teachings. As such, it is not going to make an al Qaeda member “think again turn away” for a nanosecond.

“Why the U.S. government is ‘trolling’ jihadists on social media,” by Tim Hume, CNN, April 18 (thanks to Bobby):
(CNN) — “We don’t negotiate with terrorists,” has long been the standard refrain of governments when it comes to violent extremists.
But these days, in the realm of social media, at least, they are talking to them.
In recent years, the U.S. State Department has launched social media efforts to engage jihadists and their sympathizers online, contesting their claims with the intention of dissuading potential converts to Islamic extremism.
“We are actually giving al Qaeda the benefit of the doubt because we are answering their arguments,” says Alberto Fernandez, coordinator of the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC), which runs the program. “The way I see it is we are participating in the marketplace of ideas.”
That marketplace is now online, and the corners of it dedicated to Islamic extremist talk can be surreal, noisy, sometimes horrifying places.
Like no conflict before, the Syrian war, the prime focus of the world’s jihadists, is being discussed, disputed — and waged, in its propaganda aspects — on social media.
The content ranges from the shockingly grisly to the bizarre. Combatants post photos of decapitated heads as trophies of battlefield victories, or images of victims from their own side, captioned with vows to avenge them.
Links to grainy phone-camera footage abound, documenting everything from group executions, to a video appeal summoning Muslim women to come to Syria to find a husband among the Islamist rebels. On Twitter, jihadists post their theological quandaries: how to watch football when it means being exposed to men’s bare legs?
Often informed by the memes and language of the broader Internet, the content is disseminated swiftly around the world through a diverse network of jihadists and their supporters, journalists, analysts and onlookers.
In this way, social media has become a prime conduit for motivating budding extremists to take up arms.
A study just published by researchers at King’s College London traces how Western-based radical preachers with strong social media influence have inspired a wave of Western Muslims to fight in Syria, where they are now estimated to account for about a quarter of the 11,000 foreign jihadists in the country.
In response to this threat, the U.S. government has been “messaging” in social media in Arabic, Urdu and Somali for three years now, attempting to penetrate the virtual echo chambers of jihadist thought with contrary points of view.
But it is only since their English-language Twitter feed was launched in December, becoming a pugnacious new voice in the conversation, that their efforts have increasingly drawn attention — and raised eyebrows — in the West.
This development has led to the spectacle of the U.S. government publicly bickering with jihadists and their ideological fellow travelers on social media, debating Syria, the War on Terror, “the clash of civilizations” in 140-character bursts.
A typical exchange occurred recently when a pro-jihadist Twitter user admiringly posted an image of a desecrated Buddha of Bamiyan, one of the monumental statues in Afghanistan destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. The CSCC account tweeted in response:
“Destroying ancient culture out of hatred and backwardness are a feature of al Qaeda’s ideology.”
“Crying about so-called ancient culture when there was no food and children were dying out of hunger,” scoffed the Islamist. “The shortage of food in Afghanistan was due to Taliban’s disastrous policies,” replied the State Department account.
Another user chimed in with a tweet at the State Department: “Al Qaeda just bombed a kindergarten and school with your funding and guns.”
Trolling the terrorists?
Obama Delays XL Pipeline Decision Until After Midterm Elections
By Newsmax Wires
The Obama administration said Friday it's extending its review of the Keystone XL pipeline – a procedural punt that could put off a decision until after midterms – unleashing howls of protest from both Republicans and Democrats who want the project approved.

State Department officials cited ongoing litigation in Nebraska over the pipeline’s route, and said more time was needed to allow for comment.

The indecision over the northern leg of TransCanada’s pipeline, which would connect the tar sands of Alberta to oil refineries and export facilities in Texas, has dragged on for nearly six years – and the debate has put President Obama in a tough spot with supporters, some of whom are pushing for the the job-creating project, and environmentalists who are vehemently opposed.

“This delay is shameful,"Republican House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement.

"With tens of thousands of American jobs on the line and our allies in Eastern Europe looking for energy leadership from America, it’s clear there is little this administration isn’t willing to sacrifice for politics. This job-creating project has cleared every environmental hurdle and overwhelmingly passed the test of public opinion, yet it’s been blocked for more than 2,000 days."

Boehner also alluded to the crisis in Ukraine, saying "energy security sends signals across borders, and nations in the region hoping for greater American energy exports will no doubt take notice of this egregious decision."

New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp also blasted the delay, calling it "absolutely ridiculous," while Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., called the delay "irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable," Fox News reported.

"By making it clear that they will not move the process forward until there is a resolution in a lawsuit in Nebraska, the administration is sending a signal that the small minority who oppose the pipeline can tie up the process in court forever," Landrieu said. "There are 42,000 jobs, $20 billion in economic activity and North America's energy security at stake."

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a statement reported by Politico, said the delay only shows "It is crystal clear that the Obama administration is simply not serious about American energy and American jobs."

"Here’s the single greatest shovel-ready project in America — one that could create thousands of jobs right away — but the President simply isn’t interested. Apparently radical activists carry more weight than Americans desperate to get back on the job."

Nebraska Republican Rep. Lee Terry, whom Politico described as one of the pipeline’s biggest supporters in Congress, slammed Obama's "audacity to stand at the podium at the White House press office and lecture Republicans in Congress about the need to make tough decisions."

"But today, he punted a tough decision in the name of political expediency.”
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, called the delay "a stunning act of political cowardice," Politico reported.

And North Dakota Republican Sen. John Hoeven said it was clear the president "wants to get this past the midterms."

"I'm not convinced that's a good strategy. Because people are going to see it for the political decision that it is."

The decision could also put Obama at odds with Canadian politicians who also want to see an end to delays and indecision.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office was "disappointed that politics continue to delay a decision," his spokesman said.

Environmentalists were heartened.

Jane Kleep, director of Bold Nebraska, a progressive advocacy group, insisted the new delay in the project "is yet more proof this project is not permit-able and not in our national interest," Think Progress reported.

She said litigation before the Nebraska Supreme Court will likely not be settled until about January 2015 – and that South Dakota’s permit granted for the pipeline expires this June 20, which means TransCanada would have to reapply for a state permit afterward.

The latest delay comes just a week after a group of 11 Senate Democrats – five of them looking to get re-elected this year – urged Obama to make up his mind by May 31.

They included Landrieu, as well as Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Warner of Virginia, all of them up for re-election. All were backers of the Keystone project.

"This decision must not drag on into the summer,” the letter urged. Democratic Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Jon Tester and John Walsh, both of Montana, also signed the plea.

Yellow stars and ghosts that haunt...players in a modern day revolution 
By: Diane Sori

"We're hoping it's just a provocation but I always thought the days that Jews would become scapegoats for whatever reason were long over." 
- Yosef Gurevitz, saw one of the letters telling Jews to register

In the months since Ukraine's pro-Moscow government of President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown, accusations of fascism and anti-Semitism from both the pro-Russia and pro-Ukraine sides have been surfacing and have Vladimir Putin worried about the rising tones of hatred against Jews in the region. And now as shadows of the Holocaust...a nightmare straight from the bowels of hell...seem to be resurrecting again...Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine...over 16 years of age...are being told via letter to pay a fee of $50 U.S., provide a list of property they own, and register as Jews with the pro-Russian separatists or face loss of citizenship or expulsion.

Today, only about 70,000 remain of a once thriving two million plus Jewish community and the ghosts have now returned to haunt...the ghosts of the 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews who were exterminated between 1941 and 1945, when most Ukrainians either outright cooperated with the Nazis or simply looked away.

The letters were handed out to Jews leaving synagogue after Passover services. Saying that all Jews must register with a 'commissar' at the regional government headquarters by May 3rd, the letters are supposedly the handiwork of Denis Pushilin (who claims that he didn't write them), the chairman of the People's Republic of Donetsk...a pro-Russian group...who are against the new Ukrainian government in Kiev.

"I have no doubt that there is a sizable community of anti-Semites on both sides of the barricades, but for one of them to do something this stupid—this is done to compromise the pro-Russian groups in the east." Fyodr Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs.

So while most believe the letters to be real, some say they're NOTHING but propaganda to stir up trouble as the Jews have been used since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict as fodder for the provocation machine...used as an attempt by Western Ukrainians to delegitimize the pro-Russian movement in Eastern Ukraine, just as the Russians used accusations of anti-Semitism to speak against the Maidan revolutionaries (the name given to those who gathered on Kiev's Independence Square to take part in protests that eventually toppled Yanukovich)...freedom fighters, if you will, who wanted Ukraine to become part of the European Union.

And now those very sentiments are being used to stir up trouble as Secretary of State John 'Swiftboat' Kerry is in Geneva to mess up the talks between the two sides...just like he messed-up the talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Kerry called the letters "grotesque" and said that such acts were "beyond unacceptable" just as diplomats claimed to have already reached a deal on Ukraine. But the truth is how can a deal have been reached when pro-Russian separatists, led by Denis Pushilin, say they will NOT be bound by any deal that involves laying down their guns or vacating the public buildings they have taken over...that is at least until the Ukrainian government voluntarily steps down.

And that is something that will NOT happen under this anything but a deal.

These two critical requirements are the make or brake pieces of any agreement that hopes to be successfully put in place, and without them in place the deal is NOT worth the paper it's written on. And 'The Right Sector,' another far-right nationalist group who used violent street tactics to support the Maidan in bringing down Yanukovich, saw the Geneva accord as being directed only at pro-Russian separatists in the east.

"We don't have any illegal weapons and so the call to disarm will not apply to us. We, the vanguard of the Ukrainian revolution, should not be compared to obvious bandits,"
said Right Sector spokesman Artem Skoropadsky.

And truth be told, Vladimir Putin has come out the winner once again for nowhere in this agreement is there any mention of Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula nor is there any mention demanding Russian troops being removed from the territory of Ukraine, and most importantly there is NO mention about protecting the territorial integrity of Ukraine. This tenuous at best tentative agreement...put together by the U.S., Russia, Ukraine, and the European Union...simply calls for an end to violence and intimidation in Ukraine by demanding an end to the illegal occupation of buildings and squares.

And except for offering amnesty from prosecution for those who agree to disarm (unless they've committed serious violent offenses), this sad ineffectual agreement offers the only hope right now of halting a stand-off in Ukraine that could escalate to a point where U.S. military involvement would seriously have to be considered... Obama be damned on that one...for the fact is that the fuse for a new Cold War has indeed been lit.

And while a former senior aid to Vladimir Putin claims the West sold out to the Kremlin on the deal, John 'Swiftboat' Kerry croaked that, "If there is not progress over the course of these next days the there will be additional sanctions, additional costs as a consequence."

And what say our fearless leader (gag) about all this...while NATO announced it was sending warships to the Baltic, Barack HUSSEIN Obama approved more non-lethal military support for Ukraine. Support like saying that the meeting in Geneva between Russia and the western powers was promising but...and here he reiterates Kerry's words...that the U.S. and its allies were more than ready to slap even more (useless) sanctions on Russia if the situation fails to improve within a certain unspecified time frame.

As for Vladimir Putin...when the deal was reached Putin warned that it was because he had the Federation Council...Russia's upper house of Parliament... backing his use of force if need be.

"I really hope that I do not have to exercise this right and that we are able to solve all today’s pressing issues via political and diplomatic means,”
Putin said, but when it comes to the 'Russian Bear' force is his weapon of choice while our anything but leader loves to draw 'red lines' in the sand that he scuffs out when the going gets tough. But now with the Ukrainian Jews possibly sandwiched in the middle the stakes have gone up as the ultimate outcome still remains unknown, and that is the scariest part of all.