CONTENTS: Paul Harvey; Hanson – falsity; McCarthy – Brennan; Spiegel – fracking; Drones; OCare flippers; BSA dilemma; Biden’s gaffs; Red State Model; Obama shooter; Drones on Americans; Allen West recount; No budget #3; Immigration & OCare; Pot tax; Guns – Coulter, Levin; Iran nuclear nice guy; Fort Hood; WH sequester; Announcements
“I think you’re obsessed with guns,” Nugent exclaimed, questioning Morgan’s intense interest in firearms. “Ninety nine point nine nine percent of the gun owners of America are wonderful people that you are hanging around with here today. Perfectly safe. Perfectly harmless. Wonderful, loving, giving, generous, caring people. Would you leave us the hell alone!” Ted Nugent
1788: Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the Constitution.
1862: The Union won its first major victory in the Civil War, with the capture of Fort Hood on the Tennessee River.
1899: The Senate ratified the treaty ending the Spanish-American War.
1911: Ronald Reagan, the fortieth U.S. president, was born in Tampico, Illinois.
1971: Apollo 14 astronaut Alan Shepard hit three golf balls on the moon. (Bennett & Cribb, 2010)
Rich Lowry, NRO: “Paul Harvey’s Triumph”
“His ad was everything that our celebrity-soaked pop culture is not.
“In the four and a half hours of ceaseless spectacle that was Super Bowl XLVII — even the Roman numerals are excessive — there were only two minutes that made you stop and truly listen.
“They were courtesy of Paul Harvey, the late, great radio broadcaster. Chrysler had the inspired idea to make two minutes of his speech at a 1978 Future Farmers of America convention into the soundtrack for an ad for the Ram truck while affecting still photos of American farm life scrolled on the screen.
“The spot stuck out for how thoroughly un–Super Bowl it was. It’s a wonder that CBS didn’t refuse to air it on grounds that it wasn’t appropriate for the occasion. It was simple. It was quiet. It was thoughtful. It was eloquent. It was everything that our celebrity-soaked pop culture, which dominates Super Bowl Sunday almost as much as football does, is not. . .”
Victor Davis Hanson, NRO: The New Age of Falsity
“Four legs good, two legs better.
“We live in an age of falsity, in which words have lost their meanings and concepts are reinvented as the situation demands. The United States is in a jobless recovery — even if that phrase largely disappeared from the American lexicon about 2004. Good news somehow must follow from a rising unemployment rate, which itself underrepresents the actual percentage of Americans long out of work.
“At the same time, we are supposed to be relieved that we are in a contracting expansion, where fewer goods and services are proof of a resilient economy. In our debt-ridden revival, borrowing $1 trillion each year is evidence that we don’t have a spending problem.
“If an unemployment rate of 7.9 percent and the economy shrinking by 0.01 percent a year — with a fifth consecutive $1 trillion annual deficit — are indicators of recovery, what would the old 5 percent unemployment, 4 percent growth in GDP, and $300 billion annual deficits mean? Or do the meaning of words and the nature of “facts” depend on who is in the White House at the time, or rather on whether the president is trying to make us more equal or to enrich the 1 percent?
“At key points, whole controversies vanish without a trace. . .”
Andrew McCarthy, PJM: Oppose Brennan for CIA Director
“To cut to the chase, a country that was serious about its national security would never put John Brennan in charge of its premier intelligence service.
“Of course, it is by no means clear that the United States is any longer a serious country in this regard. Serious countries do not fund, arm and “partner with” hostile regimes. They do not recruit enemy sympathizers to fill key governmental policy positions. They do not erect barriers impeding their intelligence services from understanding an enemy’s threat doctrine – in conscious indifference to Sun Tzu’s maxim that defending oneself requires knowing one’s enemies. All of these malfeasances have become staples of Obama policy, under the guidance of Brennan, the president’s counterterrorism guru.
“Still, the installation of a Beltway operator whose métier is misinformation as director of central intelligence would be an epic mismatch of man and mission. It would expand unseriousness to new frontiers of self-inflicted peril.
“The reason is as elementary as it gets: The purpose of intelligence is to see what your enemy is trying to hide, to grasp how your enemy thinks, and how he cleverly camouflages what he thinks. That, to be certain, is the only security against stealthy foes who specialize in sabotage, in exploiting the liberties that make free societies as vulnerable as they are worth defending.
“Mr. Brennan, to the contrary, is the incarnation of willful blindness. . .”
Spiegel: “Full Throttle Ahead: US Tips Global Power Scales with Fracking”
“The United States is sitting on massive natural gas and oil reserves that have the potential to shift the geopolitical balance in its favor. Worries are increasing in Russia and the Arab states of waning influence and falling market prices.
“Williston, North Dakota, is a bleak little city in the vast American prairie. It’s dusty in the summer and frigid in the winter. Moose hunting is one of the few sources of entertainment. But despite its drawbacks, Williston has seen its population more than double within a short period of time.
“The city is so overcrowded that new arrivals often have no place to stay but in their motor homes, which, at monthly parking fees of $1,200 (€880), isn’t exactly inexpensive. And more people continue to arrive in this nondescript little town.
“The reason for the influx is simple: Geologists have discovered a layer of shale saturated with natural gas and oil deep beneath the city. The Bakken formation, spanning thousands of square kilometers, has become synonymous with an American economic miracle that the country hasn’t experienced since the oil rush almost 100 years ago.
“North Dakota now has virtual full employment, and the state budget showed an estimated surplus of $1.6 billion in 2012. Truck drivers in the state make $100,000 a year, while the strippers being brought in from Las Vegas rake in more than $1,000 a night. “President Barack Obama calls the discovery of Bakken and similar shale gas formations in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Utah a “stroke of luck,” saying: “We have a hundred years’ worth of energy right beneath our feet.”
Drones (from Matt Drudge,2/6/13)
CITY FIRST TO BAN DRONES IN SKY...
Obama drone strike killed 16-year-old born in Denver...
WHITE HOUSE: 'ETHICAL,' 'WISE'...
'Very, very dangerous'...
Congress considers putting limits on drone strikes...
WSJ: ObamaCare Flippers
“. . . In her State of the State address last month, Ms. Brewer pulled a political 180°—or maybe 540°—and said expanding Medicaid would “inject $2 billion into our economy and ‘save and create thousands of jobs.’ (Is Larry Summers moonlighting as a Brewer speechwriter?)
“One secret of her switcheroo is Medicaid’s “matching rate” formula, in which the feds pick up 67% of Arizona’s existing spending and 100% (and later 90%) of the costs of ObamaCare’s newly eligible population. The state supposedly no longer needs to spend ‘billions’ but merely an extra $154 million in 2014—then bank $1.6 billion from Washington, which her budget documents call “a return on investment of more than 10-to-1.”
“How can the state conjure such money from nothing? The answer is that Ms. Brewer and Arizona hospitals have cooked up a spending scheme to rip off national taxpayers to avoid even the $154 million the state would at first pay. The hospital lobby first floated this scheme in 2011 ‘for the specific purpose of generating matching federal Medicaid funds.’
“Here’s how it works: Arizona will tax hospitals and insurers for the $154 million. Then it will return $154 million to the health industry via more Medicaid business that will cover the cost of the tax and then some. The money needs to make a round trip from providers to the state and back to providers to game that 67% federal matching rate.
So Arizona takes (say) $3 from a hospital and then turns around and pays the $3 back, using one of the hospital’s own dollars that Arizona converted to “revenue” plus two dollars courtesy of Washington for its 67% federal share of the $3 payment. Arizona can then use the hospital’s remaining $2 of the original $3 to pay for another $6 of Medicaid expansion.
“Some 49 state now use this trick of so-called provider taxes to goose federal spending, up from 21 in 2003. (Alaska is the exception.) But the practice is so abusive that even Mr. Obama proposed new limits in his last two budgets.
“This subsidy honeypot can’t last forever, which is why other Governors are more skeptical about this Obama Medicaid windfall. . .”
Also: Todd Beamon, NewsMax: Kasich Draws Conservative Backlash in Ohio Over Obamacare
“Kasich, a longtime champion of smaller government, said he would expand Medicaid in the state. The turnabout even brought rare criticism from the state’s Tea Party Patriots groups, Politico reports.
“Medicaid is a broken, costly system that needs meaningful reform; expanding the system to include another 365,000 individuals is exactly the wrong policy for Ohio families,” Nicole Kaeding, state policy manager for Americans for Prosperity, told Politico.
“Instead of trapping families in a system that doesn’t work, Gov. Kasich should devote his efforts and activities to forcing Columbus and Washington to pass badly needed reforms.”
“But Kasich, now among five Republican governors backing the Medicaid expansion, said the move would make more money available to spend on mental health and other services, Politico reports.
LEADS . . .
Ed Trammel, Daily Herald: “BSA dilemma”
“Conservatives like Muslims, Catholics, Southern Baptists, Evangelicals and Mormons historically make up the Boy Scouts of America’s majority.
“The BSA is under extreme pressure from sectarian liberals and the President to accept gays as scouts and leaders. History has taught us that a pedophile cannot be trusted with children. Pedophiles come in all casts: some are homosexuals, some are heterosexuals, some fathers and mothers. We are always shocked when trust is broken and we find our children have been abused.
“Not all homosexuals are pedophiles, but let’s consider the question rationally; how many of us would support even an upstanding heterosexual man leading a troop of girl scouts on an overnight excursion? . . .”
Nile Gardiner, UK Mail: Biden’s Gaffs
“Biden has a well-earned reputation as a gaffe-maker extraordinaire, and this speech was no exception. In a key passage on the Eurozone debt crisis, Biden referred to Portugal, as Poland, a mistake subsequently corrected in the official White House transcript:
“We have seen positive steps recently to address the eurozone crisis, with the European Central Bank pledging to stand behind countries willing to launch reforms, and with Greece, Ireland, Poland* [*sic-Portugal], Spain and Italy all taking important steps to put their economies on a sounder path. Governments across the eurozone must also remain focused on growth and jobs. These may be fundamentally European problems, requiring European solutions, but their resolution has tremendous impact on the United States of America and on the global economy.
“Needless to say, Poland is not even a member of the Eurozone, and its economy is in considerably better shape than that of debt-ridden Portugal. Biden’s blunder is the latest in a series of Obama presidency insults relating to Poland. . .”
King & Peters, WSJ: GOP Eyes ‘Red-State Model’
“TOPEKA, Kan.—Even if he doesn’t enter the race himself, this state’s Republican governor, Sam Brownback, is determined to play a starring role in the next presidential election
“How? By turning Kansas into what he calls Exhibit A for how sharp cuts in taxes and government spending can generate jobs, wean residents off public aid and spur economic growth.
“‘My focus is to create a red-state model that allows the Republican ticket to say, ‘See, we’ve got a different way, and it works,’ ‘ Mr. Brownback said in a recent interview.
Coming off the largest tax cut in state history on Jan. 1, Kansas is now on the leading edge of a growing but still largely untested quest among conservative governors to create growth by dramatically revamping state tax codes. . .”
James Taranto, WSJ: “Barack Obama, Straight Shooter?”
Thx Ted . . . I like Jed Clampett!
“A dubious publicity photo and journalism’s Jed Clampetts.
“Just seven weeks after a massacre at an American elementary school, the White House released a photo of the president firing a gun. Strangely, no one seems to think this is in atrocious taste. We imagine the reaction would be quite different if it were, say, George W. Bush.
“But a lot of people, including this columnist, doubt that the photo depicts what it purports to show. The White House distributed the pic in response to widespread skepticism of President Obama’s assertion, in an interview with a liberal editor and a former campaign coordinator, that “up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time.” The man who infamously said that rural Pennsylvanians and Midwesterners “cling to guns” had never before publicly indicated any interest in shooting sports.
The photo, purportedly shot last Aug. 4 (which happens to be the president’s birthday), shows Obama holding a shotgun. The barrel is smoking, indicating that the gun has just been fired. What’s odd about it is that the president is aiming straight ahead, as if he were firing a rifle at a stationary target.
“But in skeet shooting, the target, a disk known as a clay pigeon, is moving. It is launched from one of two “houses” and travels in a parabolic trajectory across the field. In order to hit it, one has to move the gun so as to follow the path of the clay. It’s not impossible that one would fire at shoulder level, as Obama is doing in the photo, but it’s unlikely. We therefore surmise that the picture is the product of a photo shoot, not a skeet shoot… “
Michael Isikoff, NBC: “Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans”
“. . . The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes.
“The secrecy surrounding such strikes is fast emerging as a central issue in this week’s hearing of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, a key architect of the drone campaign, to be CIA director. . .”
Becket Adams, The Blaze: “Voter Fraud Group Sues Over Allen West Recount”
“True the Vote, a watchdog group dedicated to protecting against voter fraud, on Monday filed suit against the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections in Florida, demanding the release of “all records pertaining to the recent 18th Congressional District election and subsequent recounts between Rep. Allen West and Patrick Murphy be reviewed in order to perform a comprehensive third-party audit.”
“As Engelbrecht notes in the video, the group does not expect to overturn Rep. Murphy’s narrow victory over Allen West. Rather, True the Vote wants the election board’s recount process to be made public so that similar debacles can be avoided in the future.
“This dramatic recount was an extraordinary example of how our elections can suffer systematic failure,” said Engelbrecht.
Jennifer Rubin, WaPo: “White House sequester antics”
“. . . Certainly the White House knew this was coming, but nevertheless it put out a dead-on-arrival proposal. There are two motivations: to shift the onus of the sequester that President Obama insisted on to the GOP and to fend off the domestic portion of the sequester, which has Democrats worried.
Republicans are right that it is not balanced to replace an all-spending cuts sequester with a mix of spending and tax hikes. So what should they do?
They should pass again their substitute bill with some additions. Since the nominee for secretary of defense says he will not be making policy or running things, his salary, staff, travel and other expenses can be eliminated. If he isn’t going to do the job of the secretary of defense, it is not fair for him to be paid for the policy-making, running-things secretary post. Then send the package over to the Senate and see what comes back.
What about the defense sequester? Well, it is entirely irresponsible to use a meat ax to chop at the defense budget, but that said, unless Republicans put their feet down they will never achieve real spending restraint. In this regard the Congressional Budget Office report today makes clear how Obama has utterly failed to halt our slide into fiscal oblivion. . .”
Lori Montgomery, WaPo: “President Obama misses budget deadline for third straight year”
“For the third year in a row, President Obama on Monday blew the deadline for submitting his budget request to Congress, prompting Republicans to grouse once again about presidential fecklessness on fiscal matters.
“Less usual was the administration’s refusal to say when Obama would release his 2014 spending plan. Congressional aides in both parties said they expect to see the budget in mid- to late-March — a delay of more than a month, unmatched by any other incumbent president except, on one occasion, Ronald Reagan.
“Though Obama’s budget requests have been dead on arrival in Congress since Republicans took control of the House two years ago, the blueprint remains an important political document. That’s particularly true this year as lawmakers gird for showdowns over automatic spending cuts, a government shutdown and the federal debt limit. . .”
Caroline May, Daily Caller: “Pathway to citizenship could increase Obamacare cost up to $300 billion over a decade”
“. . . Any immigration package in which current illegal immigrants are made eligible for Obamacare — in the form of either exchanges or Medicaid — could increase costs to the federal government by between $120 billion to $200 billion in its first decade, according to internal calculations by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee that were obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller.
GOP Senate Budget Committee staffers explained to TheDC that the estimates assume that the law’s provision capping total spending on exchange subsidies, which is set to begin in 2019, is enforced.
“However, should the provision fall by the wayside, as some analysts believe it could, the staffers estimate the cost of Obamacare could increase between $210 billion to $300 billion over the next 10 years. . .”
AP: “A federal pot tax? Broad effort building in Congress to change marijuana laws”
“. . . While passage this year could be a longshot, lawmakers from both parties have been quietly working on several bills, the first of which Democratic Reps. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Jared Polis of Colorado plan to introduce Tuesday, Blumenauer told The Associated Press.
“Polis’ measure would regulate marijuana the way the federal government handles alcohol: In states that legalize pot, growers would have to obtain a federal permit. Oversight of marijuana would be removed from the Drug Enforcement Administration and given to the newly renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms, and it would remain illegal to bring marijuana from a state where it’s legal to one where it isn’t.
“The bill is based on a legalization measure previously pushed by former Reps. Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Ron Paul of Texas.
“Blumenauer’s bill would create a federal marijuana excise tax of 50 percent on the “first sale” of marijuana — typically, from a grower to a processor or retailer. It also would tax pot producers or importers $1,000 annually and other marijuana businesses $500.
His office said Monday it doesn’t yet have an estimate of how much the taxes might bring in. But a policy paper Blumenauer and Polis are releasing this week suggests, based on admittedly vague estimates, that a federal tax of $50 per ounce could raise $20 billion a year. They call for directing the money to law enforcement, substance abuse treatment and the national debt. . .”
Billy Hallowell, The Blaze: Ann Coulter – “Universal Background Checks Could Lead to ‘Universal Confiscation, Universal Extermination’ of Firearms”
Thx Ted. . . Dr. David Buss found that 91% of men and 84% of women had made detailed plans to commit murder. Anyone who hasn’t is probably a liar. Again, we can predict lethal situations (marital conflict, jealousy) but not lethal people. As with suicide, it’s easier to find explanations afterwards for behavior that no one could predict. See essay at http://www.teapartynation.com/profiles/blogs/obama-turns-docs-into-fortune-tellers
Or http://www.deadcatsandclippings.com/?p=2388 Read Buss, David (2005) The Murderer Next Door: Why the Mind Is Designed to Kill. NY: Penguin.
“Commentator Ann Coulter appeared on “Hannity” last night, issuing a dire warning to the American people about universal background checks, a provision currently being touted by gun control advocates. Rather than embracing the proposal, Coulter warned that it could lead to “universal confiscation” and, ultimately, “universal extermination” of firearms.
“After speaking briefly with host Sean Hannity about the much-discussed photograph of President Barack Obama skeet shooting, the columnist noted that the president misses the point on the Second Amendment (i.e. the purpose of the constitutional right isn’t so citizens can go skeet shooting; it allows Americans to protect themselves).
“I’m waiting for photos of him taking birth control pills to show him fighting the war on women,” Coulter quipped.
“On the gun control front, she gave a passionate speech about how the real problem is mental illness . . .”
Mark Levin: Fury
Don’t forget. The Second Amendment keeps us armed against governments . . .
“Now, there’s a fury in me — I’m just being honest with you — that I’m trying to contain. Biden, the moron Senator from Delaware, taking his train back and forth and back and forth on Amtrak. Oh wow, what a guy. Anyway, so they may do by executive fiat — I’m trying to read between the lines — a national gun database. Now, why would we need a national gun database? Well, listen, we need to know who has the weapons, at all times, and how many weapons they have and what weapons they have. How come? Why? The guy that killed all those people in Newtown, Connecticut, we know who he was and we know who had the weapons, his mother. So what does this national database have to do with anything? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Oh, okay, but we need one anyway, right? To prevent what exactly? To prevent what? (Mark Levin Show, January 10, 2013)”
Jack Khoury, Haaretz: “Ahmadinejad – Iran already a nuclear state, but has no intention of launching attack on Israel”
“In interview with Al-Ahram on eve of Islamic Summit Conference in Cairo, Iranian president also says his country opposes outside intervention in Syria.
“ . . . Ahmadinejad said the world must now treat Iran as a nuclear country. “They want Iran to go back to what it was in the past, but they won’t succeed. They assume we’ll give in to pressure; such thoughts are misguided. We’re already an industrial and nuclear country, a country that has conquered space. For years we have been thinking about sending a human being into space, and we will do that, with Allah’s help. We must ensure development and growth and bring them to pass, and the world must acknowledge our progress,” he said, adding that the best solution was cooperation with Iran.
“Mentioning the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran, Ahmadinejad said that while it might be easy to launch missiles or attack using fighter jets, Iran’s response and defense capability were important in this context. He reiterated that the Zionists were trying to take over the foci of power and wealth throughout the world. . .”
Aaron Goldstein, American Spectator: “Obama, Gun Violence & Fort Hood”
“. . . what about the right of our military personnel to carry out their oath to defend our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic? Surely that was compromised on November 5, 2009, when Nidal Malik Hasan shot and killed a dozen military personnel, one civilian and one unborn child at Fort Hood. Surely these 14 people were also victims of gun violence.
And yet President Obama has not once seen fit to mention those who died at Fort Hood during any of his public remarks on gun violence over the past seven and a half weeks.
Now I am not the first person to mention Obama’s omission. Following the vigil in Newtown in which Obama spoke of Tucson, Aurora and Oak Creek, Mark Levin pointedly asked, “What happened to Fort Hood? How come he didn’t mention Fort Hood?”
But the fact that Obama still hasn’t uttered a word about Fort Hood in this entire discussion about gun violence nearly two months after the fact, it is a question worth asking once more. . .”