Monday, December 22, 2014

Obama Doctrine












POlitical Promises


Help us all!




Interrogation Today!


Race Wars!








Will Dems who blamed Palin for Giffords attack refuse a ‘conversation’ about NYC shootings?

Hot Air ^ | December 21, 2014 | Noah Rothman 

Jazz already wrote the definitive take on the grisly execution-style shooting of two New York City police officers and the role that irresponsible commentary from elected leaders – particularly Mayor Bill de Blasio – might have played in that attack.
Jazz is right to question the part that the mayor’s self-indulgent and unhelpful rhetoric might have played in this incident. Hours after a Staten Island grand jury’s decision to issue no-bill for the death of Eric Garner, de Blasio went on an ill-advised tear in which he impeached the NYPD based solely on his prejudices.
“That should never have to be said,” the mayor said of the protesters’ rallying cry, “black lives matter,” Though he conceded that it raises a question which “our history, sadly, requires.”
The mayor went on to indict the police force over which he presides when he confessed that his family had taken steps to ensure that his mixed-race son does antagonize the trigger-happy city cop. “We’ve had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers,” he said.
De Blasio added that his fear for his son’s life is a concern shared by millions of city residents. “Is my child safe?” he asked, channeling these millions. “And not just from some of the painful realities — crime and violence in some of our neighborhoods — but are they safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors?”
It was a speech more expected of a public advocate, the office de Blasio held just prior to moving into Gracie Mansion, rather than the mayor of America’s largest city on the eve of crisis.
While it is appropriate to question what role rhetoric played in this shooting, it is probably not a course in which conservative should become overly invested. In the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), the left and the press engaged in frenzied speculation about how the tea party had likely inspired the attack.
They were wrong and reckless, and hindsight demonstrates how clearly those accusations were founded only in the left’s political distaste for the tea party. Similarly, conservatives’ dislike for liberal elected officials may end up coloring the dissection of their unhelpful rhetoric.
It is, however, perfectly appropriate for the right to demand an accounting from the left for their one-sided attacks on the culture of law enforcement in the wake of the shooting death of Ferguson teen Michael Brown. What began as a constructive conversation about foresightedness of local police forces deploying soft-skinned armored personnel carriers to disperse peaceful demonstrators has careened into self-reinforcing and insular discourse in the media about reining in the American cop. As is always the case, the “conversation” died, and the absolutists have taken over.
Some on the left appear concerned that their preferred “conversation,” one that more resembles the lecture about racial disparities in the criminal justice system which has been ongoing virtually unbroken since 1994, could evolve into something they can no longer so easily control.
“The deaths of those two officers should be mourned. Justice should be brought,” political commentator and Morehouse College African-American studies professor Marc Lamont Hill wrote. “But let’s not get confused or distracted from the big picture.”
“Yes, ‘all lives matter,’” he added, “But BLACK LIVES are the ones called into question on legal, cultural, psychological, [and] epistemological levels.”
What is the basis for insisting that there is no “big picture” to be examined in the execution of two NYPD officers? The danger that the police face are always present, and the shooting of officers in the line of duty is tragically not uncommon. A police officer was shot and killed while investigating a suspect in Tampa just hours ago. What happened to these two NYPD officers is entirely different, and if it temporarily derails our precious “national conversation,” in which liberals display and demand fealty to shibboleths, it is the very least that America owes these public servants and their loved ones.
Moreover, the conversation that conservatives are demanding might actually be a productive one. The New York City police union gave up on their mayor long ago, not merely because of the adversarial rhetorical signals he has been sending but because of his actions in office.
“For six years, Rachel Noerdlinger, who serves as chief of staff to first lady Chirlane McCray, has been living with boyfriend Hassaun McFarlane,” The New York Post reported in September. “While McCray, accompanied by Noerdlinger, enjoys attending high-level NYPD CompStat meetings, her top aide’s boyfriend has plenty of serious crime stats of his own — a rap sheet that includes homicide, conspiring to run a cocaine operation, and nearly running a cop off the road in Edgewater, NJ, last year in an incident that was later pleaded down to disorderly conduct.”
Rather than condemn McFarlane and his social media posts calling police “pigs,” the de Blasio administration went on the defensive and insisted that they would never even consider letting Noerdlinger go from her post.
The police in America’s quintessential metropolis have lost all faith in their commander, and that’s dangerous. God forbid we have a “conversation” about that disturbingly suboptimal condition. It might distract from the endless array of familiar grievances Americans are treated to ad nauseam about police conduct.
Just as there was in the wake of the frustrating grand jury decision in the Garner case, there is an opportunity in this horrible period to engage in a clarifying dialogue. Let’s hope the least helpful voices among us take the next few days off while responsible actors engage in it.

Too Old to be in the Armed Forces?

wsj ^ | 12/21/2014 | T Rose 

There are many willing to join the military to fight the radical Jihadists, this includes all ages. Here's someone we came across and heard his perspective. With further adieu, I give you Tony Rose:

"I am over 60 and the Armed Forces thinks I’m too old to track down terrorists. You can’t be older than 42 to join the military. They’ve got the whole thing backwards."

"Instead of sending 18-year olds off to fight, they ought to take us old guys. You shouldn’t be able to join a military unit until you’re at least 35".

 The rest of Tony's military perspective here.

Republicans eye obscure budget tool to repeal ObamaCare

The Hill ^ | 12/21/14 | Scott Wong 

Republicans on and off Capitol Hill are rallying behind using a rarely-deployed budget tool next year to dismantle ObamaCare.

But the issue of how to use “budget reconciliation” has divided Republicans, with some calling for it to be implemented to overhaul the tax code or to push through major energy reforms.

The tool is useful because it could allow newly-empowered Senate Republicans to pass legislation with a 51-vote simple majority rather than the usual 60, greatly increasing the chances of moving legislation to President Obama’s desk.

And while Obama is certain to veto anything that tries to roll back his landmark healthcare law, Republicans increasingly see reconciliation as an important messaging tool to help paint a contrast with Democrats on Obamacare ahead of 2016.

“My guidance is that’s where members are headed,” said one senior Senate Republican aide familiar with the behind-the-scenes budget discussions.

There already appears to be strong bipartisan support to undo smaller pieces of Obamacare — things like restoring the 40-hour workweek and repealing the medical device tax — so those provisions wouldn’t require the filibuster-proof budget tool.

While Democrats will certainly have more leverage if they retain the ability to use the Senate’s filibuster, Republicans think they can work across the aisle to enact legislation on taxes and energy.

If Republicans are serious about enacting tax reform next year, they should aim for 60 Senate votes, said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office who leads the conservative think tank American Action Forum. Republicans will hold 54 seats come January, so they they’d need at least six Democratic votes.

“That’s better for tax reform because it means it’s more durable,” Holtz-Eakin said. “When you’ve done the work of getting the minority to sign on, it makes it much more likely the White House signs it.”

Furthermore, if reconciliation is used on tax reform or energy, Democrats may refuse to cooperate.

The senior Senate Republican aide called it “unrealistic” to turn to reconciliation to pass tax or energy reform.

“That’s a way to pass something, but it’s not necessarily the way to get an outcome,” the aide said. “If you’re looking to get an outcome, which we are on energy and tax reform, using reconciliation won’t get you any Democrat votes for that.”

To be sure, the issue has not been resolved in the Republican conferences.

A spokesman for House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said discussions about reconciliation are ongoing and nothing’s been decided yet. And Ryan, who will grab the gavel of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee next month, has signaled he’s open to using the powerful budget tool to enact tax reform.

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who will replace Ryan as Budget chairman, threw out a number of possibilities for which Republicans could use the reconciliation process, including reforms to the tax code, entitlements like Medicare, or energy programs.

“I think the conference has to decide, and will decide, whether or not the tools ought to be used for things that we know will provide a contrast with the president, that we know the president will not support,” Price told reporters at the end of the legislative session. “Or things that will get us to do a true change in public policy with his signature.”

Republicans will likely settle on a strategy in mid-January when they map out their 2015 agenda at a joint House and Senate retreat in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

But Republicans are keenly aware that they’ll have to navigate a series of hurdles before they can deploy reconciliation.

First, the House and Senate would have to agree on a budget resolution, no easy feat given that the Budget chairmen, Rep. Price and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), will both be new to the job. And the handful of senators eyeing White House runs might not back the budget blueprint passed by the House.

“2016’s around the corner, so they’re going to be careful of what they’re voting on in the Senate,” said Bill Hoagland, a former longtime Senate Budget Committee staff director who later served as a top budget adviser to then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). “It’s not a foregone conclusion that all Republicans will walk in lockstep together on what comes out of the Budget committees.”

Congress is also extremely limited in how it can use the procedural maneuver — typically it’s reserved for just one issue per budget.

And even then, Senate rules say the reconciliation measure must not hike the federal deficit beyond a 10-year period and do not change spending and revenue.

Republicans will engage in back-and-forth negotiations with the Senate parliamentarian and chief referee, Elizabeth MacDonough, who must decide whether their legislation passes the test, a process known as the “Byrd Bath,” named for the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).

“It is a tough hurdle to overcome,” said Hoagland, who had been through a few baths of his own during his Senate tenure.

The last time reconciliation was used was 2010, when Democrats — shy of a filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate — needed it to make changes to the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans should “take the bill that the Democrats passed and you run reverse, you get rid of it. Wholesale,” said Holtz-Eakin.

“If it’s intended as a message vote anyway, you might as well be aggressive,” he said. “It’s not about the legislating.”

Steve Ellis, vice president of the fiscal watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense, said he understands why Ryan and others are eyeing reconciliation as a possible vehicle for a major tax overhaul. Both Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) never saw tax reform become a reality before their retirements.

But Ellis said it’s also an extremely risky option to pursue.

“It’s a seductive idea, but the proof will be in the pudding,” Ellis said. “Lawmakers have to recognize how much time and effort do they want to put in that … knowing that it may doom the whole package if you send it to the president for a veto.”

Time to Bring Back the Truman Democrats

Daily Beast ^ | 12/21/2014 | Joel Kotkin 

Democrats are pushing race and environmental issues when they should be embracing the lunch-bucket themes that once built party dominance. Meanwhile, voters flee. Once giants walked this earth, and some of them were Democrats. In sharp contrast to the thin gruel that passes for leadership today, the old party of the people, with all its flaws, shaped much of the modern world, and usually for the better. Think of Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman, John Kennedy, or California’s Pat Brown, politicians who believed in American greatness, economic growth, and upward mobility.
For more than 40 years, the Democratic Party has drifted far from this tradition, its policies increasingly a blend of racial and gender politics combined with a fashionable brand of environmental fanaticism. No longer does it constitute a reliable, middle class-based alternative to the corporatist mindset of the Republicans. “Today’s Democrats have no more in common with Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson ,” notes author Michael Lind, “than today’s Republicans have in common with Abraham Lincoln or Dwight Eisenhower. “
To regain their relevancy, Democrats need to go back to their evolutionary roots. Their clear priorities : faster economic growth and promoting upward mobility for the middle and working classes. All other issues—racial, feminine, even environmental—need to fit around this central objective. In survey after survey, economic issues such as unemployment, the economy, and the federal budget top the list of concerns while affirmative action, gay rights, and climate change barely register.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...