In the media: Did you see it?

                                       No bias in the so-called mainstream press?

Did you see ABC News’ Jonathan Karl question White House spokesman Eric Schultz on how he can state the Obama administration doesn’t make deals with terrorists when they traded five Taliban prisoners in exchange for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl?

If you were watching ABC News, you wouldn’t have seen it.  They wouldn’t want to embarrass the administration.  But I have it for you if you, click here.

Clearly, it had to be Schultz’s most embarrassing day, but if I worked for ABC News I would be even more embarrassed.

                                            and Charles Krauthammer commented

“(The Taliban) slits throats, it attacks buses, it drives car bombs into markets and it’s not a terrorist group?  The idea that the United States would not do this (respond to terrorist demands) is preposterous … this is fantasy.”

                                            Democrat senator takes slap at Fox News

During the C-Span coverage of the Senate Judicial Committee’s hearing on attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-CA) took the opportunity to take a slap at Fox News and others in response to remarks made about actions of the current AG, Eric Holder, during testimony.  Click here to hear the pompous Whitehouse, a defender of Holder, say that the hearing was “a soundbite factory for Fox News and conspiracy theorists everywhere.”  He said, “There are plenty other forums where the attorney general would have an opportunity to defend himself …”  Unfortunately, Holder refuses to answer to charges brought against him in those forums.

                                                    Wall Street Journal plays catch up

It was nice to see the Wall Street Journal editorial staff finally comment on the IRS hiring of CGI Federal to handle its ObamaCare tax program in its Jan. 29, edition, “Failing Up in ObamaCare.”  You may recall that I brought this to your attention in my Jan, 23, post, “Piecing together the costly health insurance website.”  Just seven months after CGI failed miserably in developing the ObamaCare website for HHS with a near billion dollar price tag, the IRS “rewarded” them with a $4.6 million contract, said the Journal.  While the exposure of this government mismanagement will give this story the audience it needs, the Journal stopped short of recommending the following of proper procurement procedures and closer oversight.

A study to tell us what we already knew

Over the past few years, I have written extensively about my belief that extending the unemployment payments was a disincentive to work.  People who took advantage of the multiple extensions became the subject of pieces appearing in newspaper and magazines and television news.

(urban.org)

(Graphic courtesy Urban.org)

“Too many Americans took advantage of a system that was meant to be a temporary cushion, and stopped looking for work as long as the free ride continued,” I wrote in my Nov. 12, 2014 post, “Economy big loser with big government.”  And, as the Wall Street Journal has pointed out, the generous unemployment extensions discouraged businesses from creating jobs.

As predicted, when the unemployment extensions stopped, many returned to the job force.  As the unemployment percentage went down, the president was there to chronicle the fact that it was his economic policies that made the difference.  Not true.

“The cut in unemployment benefit duration led to a two percent increase in aggregate employment, accounting for nearly all of the remarkable employment growth in the U.S. in 2014,” wrote economists Marcus Hagedorn, Iouril Manovskii and Kurt Mitman in an abstract of a working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research.*

The authors reported that 1.8 million jobs, slightly more than three of five net positions, were filled as a result of the halt in unemployment benefits.  The also indicated that the cut also pulled a million workers who had dropped out of the workforce back into the workplace.

*The National Bureau of Economic Research is a private, not-profit organization.

 

 

 

 

Fox News kicks off its 2016 GOP Power Index

fox (hollywood reporter)

(Fox News logo courtesy Hollywood Reporter)

For those of you who like to see which presidential candidates are leading in popularity, Fox News’ digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt has released his inaugural edition of his 2016 GOP Power Index, a 90-second unscientific review of where the contenders stand.  I will be providing you a link to future editions. Click here to see the kick-off.

Save the Warthog

Having spent much of my life around aircraft, in the Air Force and in the aerospace industry, it was distressing to learn that the A-10 Thunderbolt II was slated for the budgetary chopping block.

AFGHANISTAN-UNREST-NATO-FILES

An A-10 Warthog flies over a Special Forces unit in close air support. Flying low and at slower speeds, A-10 pilots have great visibility as they  loiter over a target area. (usaf photo)

Yes, it’s been flying for four decades, but we’re still flying the B-52 and the C-130, which have been in the air for five and six decades, respectively.  These and other aging aircraft still carry out valuable missions thanks to the upgrading of their avionics and engines.

The A-10 is commonly referred to the Warthog rather than by its official moniker, obviously because of its looks.  It doesn’t have the sleek lines of modern fighter aircraft.

The A-10 won kudos for its work during the Iraq war and in Afghanistan.  Ideal as a close air support aircraft, one would think it would be the airplane of choice in the kind of warfare we find ourselves now. Continue reading

Will the GOP stand on principles, or roll over?

“If you say you oppose the president’s unconstitutional executive amnesty, show me where you stood up.  If you say you support life and you support marriage, show me where you stood up and fought. If you say you’ll stand up to the Washington establishment, the career politicians of both parties that got us in this mess, then show me where you stood up and fought.” – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Cruz (usnews.com)

Texas Senator Cruz urged voters to ask presidential candidates how they stood up and fought for conservative issues. (usnews.com)

“Talk is cheap,” said Senator Cruz during his appearance at the Iowa Freedom Summit on Jan. 24, 2015, as he demanded voters ask candidates how they have fought for conservative issues and against liberal issues.

Hearing Cruz speak, I was reminded of two issues that have been of concern to me.  Would the GOP wins in the mid-terms embolden them to “man up” against a rogue president and would those in the Senate remind the opposition of the Reid Reign against order in that body?  Would those who won in November stand up for issues they spoke of in their campaigns?

I was beginning to wonder when the trillion dollar “Cromnibus” bill passed in December, but I am seeing some signs of hope.  Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress was, in my opinion, a superb response to a president who continuously insults Congress by going around them to suit his agenda. Continue reading

That State of the Union address

By now you have heard all the reviews of President Obama’s State of the Union address.  There was the sameness of his message, his failure to mention Al Qaeda, his frequent threats to use the veto, and his concocted story of Rebecca, the Democrat plant who, joined by her husband, sat in the gallery with the first lady.

Surprisingly, I was still awake by the time he got to his pitch about “a better politics.”

“A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; when we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than ‘gotcha’ moments or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.”

With Obama, it is his opposition who are demonizing him, who play loose with facts, who magnify his gaffes, and manufacture “gotcha” controversies about him and his administration.

He, however, during his glowing state of the economy, conveniently left out the fact that 90 million Americans are no longer seeking employment and that the number of people on food stamps has increased by 15 percent during his watch.

(Cartoon courtesy sodahead.com)

Cartoon courtesy sodahead.com)

“Gotcha” controversies, formerly labeled as “phony” controversies, still bother him.  If they didn’t, he wouldn’t continue to attempt to belittle them.  Fast & Furious, ObamaCare, the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS, the Stimulus and those shovel ready jobs, the Bergdahl case and Benghazi top the list.

He talks of values and principles, yet he believes these examples of duplicity in his administration have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.

 

Piecing together the costly health insurance website; IG finds CMS work rushed, sloppy and lacking oversight

Most of us have at one time or another dumped pieces of a jigsaw puzzle out on a card table to pass the time; usually when the weather outside is miserable.

If you have a good eye you could usually find the pieces that form the outside border or a clearly defined section of the puzzle.  Returning to it we often see pieces we didn’t see before and the picture on the box cover gets clearer.

1-d7e7c71695I have been trying to piece together a similar puzzle regarding the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).  No, not one depicting the accompanying organizational chart.  My interest was in the puzzling billion dollar cost for the healthcare.gov website.

After a contentious five-year stint as HHS secretary, culminating in the botched rollout, Kathleen Sebelius resigned in April last year.  Of course, she was not forced out.  While she defended the website during Congressional hearings, embarrassingly, the system went down.

Her departure left a number of unanswered questions, while new questions arose.  What about the outrageous cost of the website, and how has Marilyn Tavenner, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services escaped scrutiny? Continue reading

Iran continues its exploitation of President Obama’s foreign policy weakness

Ramierez Iran

“We have never pursued or sought a nuclear bomb and we are not going to do so.  We are solely seeking peaceful nuclear technology.” – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, September 2013.

Hasson Rouhani (barcroft media)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (barcroft media)

Two months later, as Iran agreed to rollback parts of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some sanctions, President Obama assured us he wouldn’t allow and interim agreement to become a means for Tehran to play for time in the development of a nuclear weapon.  If Iran does not fully meet its commitment during this six-month phase,” he said, “we will turn off the relief (from sanctions) and ratchet up the pressure.

It reminds one of when he said “the movement of chemical weapons in Syria would cross a red line for us and might trigger a military response.”

During his State of the Union address last night President Obama threatened to veto any attempt by  Congress to impose new sanctions on Iran until he can assess the new reconciliatory tone emanating from Tehran.

John Kerry and Mohammad Javad Zarif

Why are these men smiling? After round after round of negotiations, the delays have enabled Iran to continue its nuclear weapons program, causing Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (right) to smile.

The Obama administration believes “A sanctions bill would be interpreted as a hostile act by Tehran … spoiling the diplomatic mood,” reports the Wall Street Journal.  But Congressional action would only penalize Iran if they didn’t come to terms.  Its passage would serve to inform Iran that they will pay a price for continued delays.

Congress, including a number of Democrats, are concerned with reports that U.S. negotiators would devolve from an outright stopping of Iran’s nuclear program to a lesser demand that would provide Iran with a window of perhaps a year to develop a bomb.  The desire to get a deal for deal’s sake – a bad deal – is what concerns many, especially Israel.

 

 

 

The GOP response to the State of the Union; wait for it

Joni Ernst, the newly elected senator from Iowa, will give the Republican response to the president’s State of the Union address tonight, and the long knives of the media are already out.

Of course, they recalled the anemic responses made by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Sen. Marco Rubio, while failing to mention last year’s impressive performance by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the most senior GOP woman in House leadership.

ben Baker for politico

Politico published this unflattering wide-eyed photo of Sen. Joni Ernst with its coverage of her selection to give the Republican response to the State of the Union address. (benbaker for politico)

Bachmann (village voice.com)

Newsweek did a number on Rep. Michele Bachmann with this wide-eyed cover shot in 2011. (villagevoice.com)

While most of the media published flattering pictures of Ernst in their coverage, Politico, the publication that promises to deliver nonpartisan news, fast, fair and first, chose to use a tight close-up featuring a wide-eyed Ernst.  It reminded me of the unflattering cover photo Newsweek published of Rep. Michele Bachmann in 2011 accompanying its piece, Queen of Rage. Continue reading

Peggy Noonan advises Mitt Romney not to run; why should he listen to her?

Those of us who follow the political scene and remember who said what about whom, recall how Peggy Noonan shook up the right with her “endorsement” of Barack Obama in 2008.

Noonan (lonelyconservative.com)

Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan’s advice to Mitt Romney is dissected by kramerontheright. (lonely conservative.com

“He has within him the possibility to change the direction and tone of American foreign policy; his victory would provide a fresh start in a nation in which a fresh start would come as a national relief,” she wrote about Obama in her Wall Street Journal column.  She went on to comment that he was steady, calm, and showed good judgment.

Noonan was taken in like many other members of the media. New York Times columnist, David Brooks, wrote that he could tell by Obama’s perfectly creased pant leg that he was going to be president and a very good one at that; and MSNBC’s Chris Mathews remarked how he felt a tingle up his leg when he heard Obama speak.

Since 2008, however, Noonan has seen the light, writing a number of critical pieces on Obama, his policies and programs. “Mr. Obama seemed brilliant,” she wrote in 2011, recalling his longing for unity; that we weren’t divided into red and blue states; we can solve our problems together.

To conservatives, Noonan became someone we loved to hate.  As a writer, I never stopped reading her columns, and often found myself agreeing with her in later years.

Reagan (blog.heartland.org)

President Reagan delivered Peggy Noonan’s Pointe du Hoc speech in usual fashion at the 40th anniversary of the Normandy invasion. (blog.heartleand.org)

You may not be aware that Noonan was a speechwriter in the Reagan White House.  She wrote the famous speech Ronald Reagan gave at the 40th Anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy, June 6, 1984.  I’ll never forget the memorable line as he spoke of the daggers thrust into the top of the cliffs, “And before me are the men who put them there.  These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs.” While you will find the complete speech on the Internet, click here to hear that stirring line. Continue reading