Posts Tagged ‘video’

The Bergdahl Blunder

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

If you want to see how quickly consensus wisdom can change as the facts come to light, take a look at the 180º turn in opinion on the five Taliban leaders for Bowe Bergdahl exchange.

First “President Obama hailed Bergdahl’s recovery as a triumph of years of high-wire diplomatic efforts” in a Rose Garden ceremony with Bergdahl’s parents.

UN Ambassador Susan Rice also hailed the exchange, saying that Bergdahl’s poor health was a factor in making the swap and that he had “served the United States with honor and distinction.”

All in all, it seemed like the perfect media event to distract public attention from the VA scandal. Republicans were criticized for complaining that swapping five high value Taliban commanders for one soldier was a mistake.

Then it came to light that Bergdahl was not universally loved among his comrades in arms, to put in mildly. “Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.”

The revelation of Bergdahl’s desertion seemed to blindside the Obama Administration. It shouldn’t have. Never mind that it should have been able to find that out before the swap from its own internal military reports. (If not, then there’s a “thermocline of truth” in the chain of command even more serious than previously suspected.) For an Administration that claims it first learns of its own scandals from the media, it should have learned about Bergdahl’s desertion no later than June 7, 2012, when Rolling Stone published an extensive profile on Bergdahl and his status as a prisoner of war:

Bowe Bergdahl had a different response. He decided to walk away.

In the early-morning hours of June 30th, according to soldiers in the unit, Bowe approached his team leader not long after he got off guard duty and asked his superior a simple question: If I were to leave the base, would it cause problems if I took my sensitive equipment?

Yes, his team leader responded – if you took your rifle and night-vision goggles, that would cause problems.

Bowe returned to his barracks, a roughly built bunker of plywood and sandbags. He gathered up water, a knife, his digital camera and his diary. Then he slipped off the outpost.

Even those notorious right-swing shills at The New York Times report that Bergdahl “slipped away from his outpost.”

Soldiers say that after Bergdahl was captured, “over the next couple of months, all the attacks were far more directed.”

Now stories have come to light that soldier’s in Bergdahl’s unit were instructed to lie about how he came into the Taliban’s hands.

No wonder there was such an outrage among our troops over the exchange.

Team Obama and its base cannot comprehend the values still cherished by those young Americans “so dumb” they joined the Army instead of going to prep school and then to Harvard. Values such as duty, honor, country, physical courage, and loyalty to your brothers and sisters in arms have no place in Obama World. (Military people don’t necessarily all like each other, but they know they can depend on each other in battle — the sacred trust Bergdahl violated.)

As for Rice, Ralph Peters noted “At least she didn’t blame Bergdahl’s desertion on a video.”

Then footage emerged of the Taliban handing over Bergdahl, which did not seem to indicate he was in particularly frail physical health. (Mentally? Well, Blinky McDeserter obviously has some issues…)

Even Obama’s usual defenders in the media are questioning the exchange:

Now Obama’s State Department (and liberal Administration defenders) are saying that “there are a ton of conflicting reports”. This is such a general purpose cop-out I’m surprised we don’t hear it from the Obama Administration more often. “Did the IRS target conservative groups?” “There are a ton of conflicting reports…”

The fact that liberal opinion has swung from “This was a triumph for Obama and Republicans look petty for raining on his parade” to “we don’t have enough information to judge yet” tells you all you need to know about the optics…

Also: Oh, nice job Mad:

More EU Election Fallout

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

It’s hard to know just how much weight to put in widespread gains by Eurosceptic parties in EU elections, mainly because the EU decision-making process seems so opaque to outsiders. Even if Eurosceptic Parties had won significant majorities, you get the impression that they would be like Patrick McGoohan’s character on The Prisoner after he got elected #2, issuing orders and flipping switches to no effect whatsoever:

Even were the Eurosceptics to form a coalition, power would still lie in the Council, or, some feel, in the permanent unelected EU bureaucracy. The entire apparatus seems designed specifically to thwart popular will and keep all power in the hands of the continental elite.

More reactions to the election:

Roger Kimball:

The architects of the EU envision a European superstate in which national identity is subordinated to the abstraction of “Europe.” The regime would be internationalist but only titularly democratic: the real power (as has been traditional on the continent) would reside in a technocratic elite, not the people. But the people, it seems, have just awakened to this reality and it turns out they don’t like it.

One take-away from yesterday’s election is this: when conservative parties cease providing a natural home for the community-binding sentiments of patriotism and national identity—when, that is to say, conservative parties cease being conservative—those parts of the population not indentured to the apparatus of dependency look elsewhere.

John O’Sullivan in National Review:

These results are merely the latest evolution of a very ominous long-term trend for the Tories. As Anthony Scholefield and Gerald Frost pointed out in their 2011 study Too Nice to Be Tories, the Conservative Party has been steadily losing one region of the United Kingdom after another in the last 40 years. It used to be able to depend on nine to twelve Unionist votes from Northern Ireland for its parliamentary majority; it gets none now. It won half the Scottish seats in 1955; the last three general elections each returned one Scottish Tory to Parliament. It wins eight seats out of 40 in Wales. And from the 158 MPs elected from the North of England, the Tories got 53.

This is a dreadful record, but it could get worse. UKIP is now starting to replace the Tories as the main challenger to Labour in northern working-class constituencies. The new party takes votes in particular from culturally conservative and patriotic working-class men whom both major parties have abandoned in their pursuit of urban middle-class progressives. UKIP may therefore be a threat to both parties, but the local elections suggest that it is a bigger threat to the Conservative party.

All this leaves Cameron with difficult choices:

Either he does the electoral deal with UKIP that he now says he won’t do, in which the Tories agree to support UKIP candidates in a given number of seats in return for UKIP’s not fielding candidates elsewhere. In London, for instance, that would give UKIP an electoral base of something just above 40 percent — in Britain as a whole an even larger one.

Or he contrives to lose the Scottish referendum on independence, which would remove only one Tory from the House of Commons but 41 Labourites and 11 Lib-Dems.

France’s ruling class are in a panic following the strong showing of Le Pen’s National Front.

Here’s a piece from the Jewish magazine Tablet in 2011 suggesting that Marine Le Pen has worked to purge the party of the antisemitism her father exhibited. Maybe.

Could UKIP and Eurosceptic parties even form a majority coalition in the European parliament? Possible but doubtful.

Then there’s the question of who would lead such a coalition, Nigel Farage or Marine Le Pen. Anglo-French rivalry is not exactly unknown…

Charles Krauthammer on the VA Scandal

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

The scandal of veterans dying while waiting for care, and the wait lists being manipulated, continues to grow.

Here’s Charles Krauthammer on the scandal and what it tells us about government-run healthcare and Obama’s competence:

Texas vs. California Update for May 14, 2014

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • Chief Executive ranks the states for business friendliness. Once again, Texas is ranked the best state for doing business in. And once again, California is ranked the worst.

    “Texas is the best state for business and I don’t see anything to slow TX down. The education and quality of eligible employees is excellent right now. Business is booming and growing quicker and more rapidly in 2014 than any other year. It’s an exciting time in Texas.”

    “California goes out of its way to be anti-business and particularly where one might put manufacturing and/or distribution operations.”

    “California continues to lead in disincentives for growth businesses to stay.”

    “California’s attitude toward business makes you question why anyone would build a business there.”

    “California could hardly do more to discourage business if that was the goal. The regulatory, tax and political environment are crushing.”

  • California Governor Jerry Brown unveils a budget that takes baby steps toward actual pension and budget reform. Naturally Brown’s fellow Democrats in the state legislature are fighting him every step of the way.
  • Texas vs. California? Try Houston vs. California:

  • California state rep thinks the minimum wage in the state should be $26 an hour. I agree, especially if they call it the “Let’s Drive All Remaining Business to Texas Act”…
  • When he was a San Diego City Councilman, California Democrat Congressman Scott Peters not only underfunded the city’s pension plan while hiking benefits, he indemnified the pension board for doing so.
  • More on Peters, via an attack ad:

  • “A new analysis of California’s independent public retirement systems suggests they are more woefully underfunded than they appear, and that Los Angeles County is among the worst of all.”
  • Bankrupt Stockton’s last remaining big creditor refuses to take 1¢ on the dollar for debts the city owes. (Remember: State pension fund CalPERS didn’t take any haircut at all.)
  • In bankrupt San Bernardino, talks between the city and CalPERS are making the federal judge overseeing the case impatient.
  • Chuck DeVore on why Texans trust their state government more than most:

    Then factors that appear to explain from 13 percent to 30 percent of the differences in trust among the states: rate of union membership,with more trust in states with lower union membership; state’s level of soft tyranny, a measure of the power of state government over its people; percentage of state and local taxes as a share of income, with lower taxes leading to more trust; the right to keep and bear arms, with citizens trusting a government that trusts them to defend themselves; a business-friendly lawsuit climate; the days the legislature is in session, with less trust as the legislature approaches full-time; and the average commute time, with less time spent in traffic leading to more trust.

    Lastly, a combination of from two to four of the previous factors correlates to 34 to 41 percent of the trust in each state with a mix of four: taxes, gun rights, lawsuit reform and commute time, showing the highest link to trust. Comparatively speaking, Texas lawmakers have done well in these four areas of public policy.

    When building trust in state government, enacting liberty-minded legislation is a good place to start.

  • But it isn’t all sunshine in Texas Local debt continues to rise, though Eanes School District voters finally decide that they’ve had enough and defeat a bond proposal.
  • LinkSwarm for April 14, 2014

    Monday, April 14th, 2014

    Time for another LinkSwarm:

  • By the standards of signing up the previously uninsured, “Obamacare may be headed for an epic failure.”
  • Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigns, leaving behind a legacy of incompetence and deception. “Rarely has any single public official done more to undermine the public’s confidence in the ability of government to function than Kathleen Sebelius.”
  • This just in: People still think ObamaCare sucks the farts out of dead wildebeests.
  • “Democrats face this reality: [ObamaCare]’s a political loser, and there’s no easy fix.”
  • New Jersey children lose health insurance thanks to ObamaCare.
  • The real reason for the Bundy Ranch standoff: Harry Reid’s son is in the pay of a Chinese solar power company that wants the land.
  • How Harry Reid’s insider trading and crony deals have made him a wealthy man.
  • Speaking of Harry Reid (via Iowahawk’s Twitter feed):

  • It turns out that the Overland Park Jewish Center shooter shared two fraternal organizations with late Sen. Robert Byrd.
  • Left out of all the left-wing Cesar Chavez hagiography: “Chavez had a very strong dislike for illegal immigrants.”
  • Indeed, we can best honor Cesar Chavez by making his birthday National Border Controls Day.
  • Backers of illegal alien amnesty may think it’s now or never.
  • It must have been a sad day for John Edwards, being barred from his sugar momma’s funeral.
  • Jay Carney is so use to lying, he can’t even resist PhotoShopping his own house. Badly. (Or maybe The Washingtonian is simply desperate to glamorize all Democrats profiled they won’t let little things like “competence” stand in the way…)
  • Is it just me, or did Hillary Clinton choose a singularly unflattering outfit for ducking shoes in?
  • The ideological slap-fight between radical lesbian feminists and tranny activists. “But all crazies are not created equal and, as crazy as the radical man-hating lesbians may be, they at least have valid science on their side in saying that ‘female’ is a biological category — genetically determined, rather than being a ‘social construct.’”
  • Vermonters just aren’t sure they want eyeball-bleeding tax rates just to satisfy the left-wing fantasy of single-payer health care.
  • France’s ruling socialists get their collective (ha!) asses kicked in municipal elections.
  • Property prices collapse in China. (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)
  • Puerto Rico: 1.2 million workers, $70 billion in debt.
  • DC Power couple divorcing. Hilarity to ensue for, oh, probably a year or so.
  • Cowardly Brandeis University withdraws planned honorary degree for Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
  • Who is killing the bankers of Europe?
  • Ex-Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wants to “fix” the Second Amendment so its easier to disarm citizens.
  • Alec Baldwin forgets yet again that Twitter is not his friend.
  • Round Rock incumbent City Councilman Carlos Salinas appears to be benefiting from his position in a way that violates both city and state codes. How nice to pass a city-funded, interest-free loan for a building to a crony, then lease the same building back at below-market rates…
  • Well, this is disturbing: Kobe Bryant dispensing actual wisdom: “If we’ve progressed as a society, then you don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African-American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right?” (From a New Yorker piece behind a paywall.) And naturally a firestorm erupted…
  • Speaking of the NBA: How two brothers owning a failing ABA franchise managed to earn a cool$1 billion from the NBA. The advantages of foresight,,,
  • PAX coming to San Antonio in 2014.
  • And remember that your taxes are due tomorrow…

    If You Don’t Think Ted Cruz is Running for President in 2016, You Haven’t Seen His Schedule

    Friday, April 11th, 2014

    Some political observers think Ted Cruz will pass on running in the 2016 Presidential race, including the very perceptive liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz, who says flatly that “Cruz won’t run in 2016.”

    I would suggest to those who don’t think Cruz is running should look at his travel schedule. This Saturday, for example, Cruz has a pretty hectic itinerary in New Hampshire:

    Saturday, April 12

    10:00 am ET – Nashua
    Greater Nashua NHGOP Day of Action Rally
    Nashua City Hall, Back Parking Lot
    229 Main Street
    Nashua, NH 03060

    11:00 am ET – Manchester
    Greater Manchester NHGOP Day of Action Rally
    Livingston Park, Pool Parking Lot
    14 Red Coat Lane (off Hooksett Road)
    Manchester, NH 03104

    1:35 pm ET – Manchester
    Sen. Cruz to hold media availability
    The Executive Court
    Media Room
    1199 South Mammoth Road
    Manchester, NH 03109

    2:15 pm ET – Manchester
    Sen. Cruz to speak at Americans for Prosperity “Freedom Summit”
    The Executive Court
    1199 South Mammoth Road
    Manchester, NH 03109

    He’s also been to Iowa this year:

    Tuesday, March 18

    1:40 pm CT – Des Moines, IA
    Sen. Cruz speaks at the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE) Homeschool Day at the Capitol
    Marriott Hotel Downtown
    Iowa Ballroom
    700 Grand Avenue
    Des Moines, IA 50309

    7:40 pm CT – Mason City, IA
    Sen. Cruz speaks at the Cerro Gordo County GOP Dinner
    The Music Man Square
    308 South Pennsylvania Avenue
    Mason City, IA 50401

    There were a significant number of events in Iowa and new Hampshire last year as well:

    Friday, October 25

    7:00 pm – Des Moines, IA
    Sen. Cruz keynotes 2013 Iowa GOP Ronald Reagan Dinner
    Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center
    Iowa Events Center
    730 3rd Street
    Des Moines, IA 50309

    NOTE: Sen. Cruz speaks at ~7:30 pm; he will take questions from the press following the program in room 402.

    Saturday, October 26

    12:00 pm – Les Mars, IA
    Sen. Cruz Speaks at Defenders of Freedom Banquet
    Le Mars Convention Center
    Banquet Hall
    275 12th Street, SE
    Le Mars, IA 51031

    NOTE: Sen. Cruz speaks at ~1:05 pm; he will take questions from the press following the program.

    Friday, August 23 – Dublin, New Hampshire

    4:45 p.m. ET
    Media Availability
    Knollwood Farm
    4 Windmill Hill Road
    Dublin, NH 03444

    6:30 p.m. ET
    New Hampshire GOP Summer Backyard Party
    Knollwood Farm
    4 Windmill Hill Road
    Dublin, NH 03444

    On Saturday, August 10, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz will speak at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa.

    Saturday, August 10

    3:50 p.m. – Ames, IA
    Iowa State University
    Stephens Auditorium
    400 Beach Avenue
    Ames, IA 50011

    *NOTE: Sen. Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, will speak prior to the Senator at 3:35 p.m.

    If Cruz isn’t running, he’s sure spending an awful lot of time in Iowa and New Hampshire for a Senator from Texas.

    For an additional data point, note that there’s already a Draft Ted Cruz Super PAC that just happens to be run by Cruz regional director Raz Shafer (and a rare kudo for David Weigel for doing the leg, er, Google and WHOIS work).

    Finally, this video on the Ted Cruz for Senate YouTube channel sure sounds like a campaign ad:

    If I had to bet money, I’d say Cruz is running for the Presidency in 2016, and I think he’ll make a formidable candidate.

    The Real Reason Democrats Hate the Koch Brothers: They’re Getting Their Asses Kicked

    Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

    You may have noticed that all the usual media outlets and liberal extensions of the Democratic Party (but I repeat myself) falling in line to attack the Koch brothers, as I’m sure has been decreed by either the DNC or whatever passes for the resurrected JournoList

    Never mind that the George Soros-funded Tides Foundation outspends the Koch Brothers by a good margin. The real reason Democrats hate the Koch Brothers is that their network is kicking Democrats’ collective asses.

    Take some of their most recent ads, for example. Here’s one against Michigan Representative Gary Peters:

    And here’s one against Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu:

    And don’t forget the video that has Julie Boonstra receiving death threats:

    (Hat tip: Moe Lane, I think, though damned if I can find the link just now…)

    Gun and Crime Roundup for March 19, 2014

    Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

    A quick tab-clearing roundup of some gun and crime news:

  • Another dead goblin finds out why it’s a bad idea to rob people in Texas. Bonus: Dead perp was carrying duct tape and zip ties.
  • Likewise, a home intruder with a long criminal history earns a dirt nap in Corvallis, Montana.
  • Likewise in Arizona, a would-be home invader gets shot in the groin. Ouch!
  • When you look at all the data, the USA is hardly a “crime-ridden slaughterhouse”. (Hat tip: Say Uncle.)
  • South Carolina pub decides to insult gun owners. Hilarity ensues.
  • Houston Muslim accused of murdering his lesbian daughter and her girlfriend.

  • “Smart gun” security is likely to be “a sewer of vulnerability”.
  • Democrats: Start Your Freak Out!

    Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

    There’s a lot of time before November, but Democrats are freaking out early and often:

    National Democrats are in a near panic — if the media’s highly-attuned panic detectors are any indicator — with a “poisonous” president unable to use his popularity to sway voters, a “screaming siren” warning about mid-term turnout, and Republicans on the offensive on Obamacare. There are a long eight months until November, but Democrats seem unlikely to get much sleep over the interim.

    Maureen Dowd expands on the theme:

    So now Democratic panic has set in.

    With the health care sign-up period coming to an end this month, Democrats in Congress are looking over at the White House and realizing that the president is not only incapable of saving them, but he looks like a big anchor tied around their necks.

    That may be why incumbent Senator Kay Hagan is running from answering questions.

    You tears, E. J. Dionne! Let me taste them! “Obama and his party are in danger of allowing the Republicans to set the terms of the 2014 elections.” Along with the usual Dionnean mush about Republicans are uniquely negative, evil, etc. He and Dowd both push the “It’s the evil Koch brothers! Evil I tells ya!” Meme of the Week. He also says to embrace ObamaCare.

    That same “embrace Obamacare” advice is also offered up by Bob Shrum, and who are we to gainsay the keen tactical insight garnered from working on eight losing Presidential campaigns?

    Columnist Eugene Robinson also says to defend ObamaCare. Hmmmmmm.

    No wonder Democrats are freaking out. The tanks are converging on their position, crushing all before them, and their commander is telling them to be calm and fire back with their rifle. Those with even half a brain (asking a lot, I know) should remember back to 2010, where supporting Obamacare cost incumbent Democrats an average of 5.2% of the vote. The result was Democrats lost 63 seats in the House. This time it looks like Democrats’ embrace of ObamaCare will cost them the Senate.

    Who can blame them for freaking out?

    And what better music for a freakout than Austin’s own psychedelic pioneers, the 13th Floor Elevators?

    LinkSwarm for March 10, 2014

    Monday, March 10th, 2014

    Time for another LinkSwarm, sweeping up all the news that was happening while I was churning out Texas primary news:

  • “The uninsured just aren’t buying ObamaCare.”
  • A not-so-short compendium of all the people Harry Reid is calling a liar.
  • ObamaCare will slash wages by as much as $5 an hour for hospitality workers.
  • ObamaCare helps states transfer medical costs for imprisoned felons to Medicaid.
  • In Sean Trende’s latest senate simulation, Democrats are more likely to lose 14 seats than 0 seats.
  • Among those in trouble: Mo Udall. (Hat tip: Shall Not Be Questioned.)
  • Even Obama is worried that Democrats will get “walloped.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • This week’s Democrat caught beating his wife: Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida
  • Senate to Obama’s cop killer fan nominee: REJECTED!
  • But evidently Mary Landrieu and Kay Hagan are just fine with cop-killer supporters.
  • New York City’s new mayor is perfectly willing to screw poor black kids attending a charter school because it’s a non-union school run by his “political nemesis.”
  • Speaking of cities run by Democrats: woman’s mummified remains found in foreclosed Detroit house.
  • A great list of things Obama won’t even consider to stop Putin.
  • Time magazine continues its record of unrivaled prognostication: “No, Russia Will Not Intervene in Ukraine.”
  • “If economic success is all but criminal in France these days, why not depart for places that reward it instead?”
  • Israel intercepts more Iranian freedom missiles and happiness rockets in route to Hamas.
  • Nigerian Muslim defends daughter’s conversion to Christianity, pleads for multiculturalism and tolerance. Ha, just kidding! He hacked her to death with a machete.
  • “What Nigerian scams are to your grandfather, Bitcoin exchanges are to the 20-30 semi-tech-savvy libertarian demographic.”

    “The exchanges are based on layers upon layers of bad software, run by shady characters,” he writes. “The Bitcoin masses, judging by their behavior on forums, have no actual interest in science, technology or even objective reality when it interferes with their market position. They believe that holding a Bitcoin somehow makes them an active participant in a bold new future, even as they passively get fleeced in the bolder current present.”

  • The bigger the cushion, the sweeter the pushin’…
  • Can anyone derail the juggernaut that is Biden 2016?
  • Vaunted liberal tolerance rears its head in Ireland:

  • We have an early winner for “stupidest Critical Race Theory race-baiting essay” from Salon (natch): “Why I can’t stand white belly dancers.”
  • Meanwhile, National Review is celebrating Chinese classical musicians. Now remind me again: Which side is racist?
  • More on Critical Race Theorist/Social Justice Warrior types: “These people don’t listen to things like “logic” and “reason” when they are in one of their social justice tizzies. It’s not even worth trying to be kind or polite to them.”
  • Winners and Losers from the Texas primaries.