Attack Machine

 Shooting Blanks Since 2004

The face of tragedy

When I saw the photograph of the drowned boy on the beach in Turkey, it hit hard because he looked like he could be my grandson. As it turns out, they were the same age. The family of a three-year-old Syrian boy whose body was washed up on a beach in Turkey were making a final, desperate attempt to flee to relatives in Canada even though their asylum application had been rejected, according to reports. Syria was already at war when Aylan Kurdi was born. He died with his five-year-old brother, Galip, and mother, Rehan. Their father, Abdullah, survived. Yes, they survived, but something in those parents died as well. I remember in the lead-up to the Iraq war in 2003 opponents predicted a massive refugee crisis if we invaded–500,000 poor souls seeking safety. That never happened. This time Obama decided to do nothing. To date, the estimate of Syrian refugees is 4... read more

Today’s Clinton corruption report

Chris Stirewalt PLEADING INSANITY: HILLARY’S CAMPAIGN WOES MOUNT Imagine that it’s the day of Hillary Clinton’s defiant March press conference at the United Nations in which she dismissed any claims of mishandling sensitive material or taking any undue risks. If we had told you then that the biggest story six months later would be her IT guy invoking his right to not incriminate himself in an ongoing FBI probe into her sketchy server, what would you have said? How about “Yikes!” You would have figured that her candidacy had sustained tremendous, perhaps irreparable damage. And you would have been right. The substance here matters. People here say the Clintons always survive because of her husband’s multiple near-death political experiences. But those things were about the pleasures of the flesh and his own weaknesses. What got him out of trouble as a candidate and in his impeachment was that Democrats could say that Republicans are sex-obsessed weirdos, and do so with a wink and a nudge. The Clinton mojo only worked because of the underlying subject. A senior aide invoking his constitutional right against self-incrimination is a big deal no matter what – just imagine if this wereJeb Bush’s or Scott Walker’s IT guy. But it’s consequence grows exponentially when the underlying substance involves potential for criminal charges for the mishandling of state secrets and exposing them to our enemies abroad because of Hillary Clinton’s desire to keep her own communications secret from her political enemies here at home. That’s not something that a campaign can wave away as prurient or misplaced. We add to that the allegations of payola, reinforced today... read more

…more refugees, more scarcity, more conflict.

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Get your head out of your…

Obama recently predicted that unless we start using less efficient forms of energy, not use fossil fuels, we’d end up with refugees, scarcity and conflict. Well, the “excess” C02 in the atmosphere is plant food, which leads to more food, not less. As for refugees and conflict, how about this? Many of these refugees flooding Europe are coming from North Africa, including Libya. That’s where Obama toppled the dictator without a followup plan. Many millions are desperate Syrians fleeing a brutal dictator who crossed Obama’s red line by using chemical weapons. Others are fleeing the barbarian ISIS, who Obama recently dismissed as “jay vee.” Sorry, but Obama is the real junior varsity. Or maybe just Pony... read more

While George Washington rowed around ice floes on the Delaware River and Hans Brinker skated toward Amsterdam on the frozen canals of Holland, the Mendenhall Glacier was beginning its retreat from its furthest forward position, known as its Little Ice Age Maximum.

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Source of Alaskan hot air: Obama’s mouth

Global warming fundamentalist, big government and big ego guy that he is, Obama is in Alaska predicting doom, using a melting glacier as a prop. Roy Spencer has this to say: Glaciers were Already Retreating Before 1900 The supposed poster child glacier for global warming in Alaska is Mendenhall Glacier…except that it had already retreated one mile by the early 1900s, long before human greenhouse gas emissions could be blamed. Furthermore, its retreat is uncovering large tree stumps approximately 1,000 years old, coincidentally coinciding with the (naturally-caused) Medieval Warm Period, back when the Vikings were able to farm in Greenland. Which begs the question: How could it have been warm enough to grow giant trees 1,000 years ago in an area now covered in ice? We don’t know why it was so warm 1,000 years ago—climate scientists don’t like to talk about it because they can’t explain it — but for some reason they are sure that your SUV is causing current warmth. Alaska’s Recent Warmth is Mostly Due to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation NOAA’s official average temperature product for Alaska, even after they’ve made innumerable and controversial adjustments, shows cooling from the 1920s to the late 1970s, then sudden warming associated with the Great Climate Shift of 1977: This shift was due to a natural reversal of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a 60 year cycle which affects the atmospheric steering currents in Alaska, determining whether cold polar air or warm Pacific air tends to win out as the two air masses continually battle for control over Alaska weather. Alaskans are used to tremendous extremes in weather throughout the year. The tree stump... read more

How much did this room cost?

This  is California’s new execution chamber where lethal injections will, if the place is ever used, end the lives of murderers. Look closely and guess how much it cost to construct. Oh, before you guess, let us stipulate that it was built with convict labor. A. $30,000? B. $120,000? C. $85,000 D. $851,000 Answer:... read more

Federal loan officers, feeling pressure from the White House and other senior government leaders to approve the loan, failed to notice warnings

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Solyndra lied to get federal loan

Carol Leonnig in Washington Post Top leaders of a troubled solar panel company that cost taxpayers a half-billion dollars repeatedly misled federal officials and omitted information about the firm’s financial prospects as they sought to win a major government loan, according to a newly-released federal investigative report. Solyndra’s leaders engaged in a “pattern of false and misleading assertions” that drew a rosy picture of their company enjoying robust sales while they lobbied to win the first clean energy loan the new administration awarded in 2009, a lengthy investigation uncovered. The Silicon Valley start-up’s dramatic rise and then collapse into bankruptcy two years later became a rallying cry for critics of President Obama’s signature program to create jobs by injecting billions of dollars into clean energy firms. The report, written by the Energy Department’s Inspector General, summarizes the findings of the four-year-long investigation conducted by FBI agents and investigators from the Office of the Inspector General. Solyndra officials told the government in 2009, for example, that they had firm contracts to sell $2.2 billion worth of their unique cylindrical solar panels over the next five years. But behind the scenes, investigators found, Solyndra was struggling with customers who were balking at the high panel prices, arranging secret side deals to pay discounted prices and refusing to buy as many panels as they once promised. Government officials, however, shared in some of the responsibility for the loss of the $535 million federal loan, investigators concluded in their report. Federal loan officers, feeling pressure from the White House and other senior government leaders to approve the loan, failed to notice warnings in... read more

The EPA’s email problem

Most know that former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson used a fake email address to conduct official business. Now there’s another sneaky one at the EPA. Kimberly Strassel in WSJ When a government official (think Hillary Clinton) uses a private email account for government work (think Hillary Clinton) and then doesn’t turn over records (think Hillary Clinton), the public has to wonder why. For an example of that why, consider Thursday’s federal-court subpoena of Phillip North. The North story hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but it is a useful tale for clarifying exactly why we have federal records and sunshine laws. You see, government workers don’t use private email because it is “convenient.” They use private email to engage in practices that may be unsavory, or embarrassing, or even illegal. Let’s be clear about that. Mr. North was, until a few years ago, a biologist at the Environmental Protection Agency, based in Alaska. Around 2005 he became enmeshed in reviewing the Pebble Partnership’s proposal to develop a mine there. Mr. North has openly admitted that he was opposed to this idea early on, and he is entitled to his opinion. Still, as a government employee his first duty is to follow the law. In the normal course of law, Pebble would file for permits and the Army Corps of Engineers would get the first say over approval. The EPA has a secondary role. But records show that EPA officials, including Mr. North, had no intention of letting the process get that far. They set about to “pre-emptively” veto the mine, before Pebble could even file for permits. But for... read more

Teutonic primitives line up against science

How dispiriting that Germany, home to great scientific minds, succumbs to such hysterical progressive nonsense. WSJ So much for Europe’s efforts to put the junk science surrounding genetically modified (GMO) food to rest. Berlin last week signaled it will prohibit cultivation of GMO crops in Germany, even if the crops have been approved by EU scientific bodies and despite an attempt by Brussels to legalize them. Berlin is using an opt-out option granted by the EU to member states in April. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker moved to keep GMO foods generally legal in the EU, but he bowed to green pressure to allow individual states to prohibit EU-approved GMOs in response to concerns that “are usually not based on science but on other considerations.” That means politically driven consumer opposition or agricultural protectionism. Sure enough, neither environmentalists nor German politicians have come up with a justification for Berlin’s looming ban other than, well, because. Supporters cheer the move as an expression of “food democracy” in a country where opposition to GMOs is widespread and the government faced intense pressure to ban them. Since a scientific basis for such a ban doesn’t exist, organizations such as Friends of the Earth Germany now resort to promoting “organic” food as an alternative to GMO crops that they say increase pesticide use and endanger human health. As a Friends of the Earth director told the website Common Dreams, Berlin’s ban promotes “sustainable, resilient organic food production that doesn’t perpetuate the overuse of toxic... read more

The right to be forgotten is instead a right to make it hard for others to find already public information.

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Will Obama stand up for a free Internet?

L. Gordon Cravitz in WSJ Last year a European court discovered a “right to be forgotten” on the Internet, allowing Europeans to demand that search engines remove links in search results to news stories and other accurate information that these people don’t want discovered. This development would merely be an amusing reminder to Americans about the absence of a First Amendment in Europe—if it weren’t for a recent demand by French regulators that search engines now censor their results in the U.S., not just in Europe. Unless the Obama administration can rouse itself to intervene to protect an open Internet, Google could soon have to start deleting search results in the U.S., making the Internet inaccurate for Americans, too. The European Union’s Court of Justice last year came up with the “right to be forgotten” when it ordered Google to remove links to news stories in search results about a Spanish lawyer who complained about factual reporting on his troubled finances. The court said the articles violated his privacy, even though the accounts were true, and ordered search engines to delist links that are “inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant or excessive.” This isn’t about privacy—it’s about hiding. Privacy laws protect people from facts about them becoming public. The right to be forgotten is instead a right to make it hard for others to find already public information. News articles remain online, but no longer appear in search results, undermining the main tool employed by Internet users to find reliable information. Google currently deletes articles from search results only on its European versions, such as the French and German... read more

ABC’s spooky “green” story

Via the Daily Caller: ABC News ran a news special in 2009 called Earth 2100, a program warning its viewers about the dangers of climate change. ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff says the show “puts participants in the future and asks them to report back about what it is like to live in this future world. The first stop is the year 2015.” This is funny, but in a sick way because the clownish thinking hasn’t abated but worsened. Perhaps someone should create another cartoon, one that features how a handful of activists warped science, created an absurd fear of C02 and hijacked government to enact warped policies that crippled growth in the poorest parts of the world. Fun fact: oil is more plentiful than ever with its price/barrel dipping below $40 this... read more

Ignorance is the natural state of human affairs, and all of us, from addlepated reality-television enthusiasts to theoretical physicists, are almost entirely ignorant of almost everything

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Two cheers for ignorance

Kevin Williamson at National Review Among the many memorable sights and sounds (and smells) of Occupy Wall Street was the young man who was very eager to speak to me about derivatives trading, which, he promised me, was positioned to sucker-punch the world economy even more brutally than the mortgage bubble had. He seemed to have a great deal of information at his command: The derivatives market was so many trillions of dollars and was inadequately regulated in such-and-such a way, etc. Listening to him speak for a bit, I told him I had only one question that I’d like him to answer: “What’s a derivative?” Sputter, stutter, stammer, hem and haw. He had no idea. It was something Wall Street types did, and it was . . . bad. Manually dislocating one’s opinions from one’s lower intestine is not a vice unique to soapbox speakers on public squares. A year or so ago, there was a big Russia story in the news, and late in the afternoon I received a panicky mass e-mail from a cable-news producer inviting every Russia “expert” in his contacts list to high-tail it to the studio for a live segment that was starting in 90 minutes or so but which was at that moment short on Russia expertise. I am about as much of an expert on Russia as I am on the civil-engineering challenges of contemporary Cairo, and for a gleefully malicious moment I was tempted to go on the show and do something funny. I thought better of it. But there are people who care a great deal more about being on television than I... read more

How to control college costs

USA Today: The United States prides itself on being innovative and creative. Yet it is struggling to train its next generation of achievers. Despite rapidly rising sums that the federal government has devoted to loans and grants, American college students and recent graduates are wallowing in debt. At last count, they owed $1.2 trillion. Not surprisingly, the leading Democratic presidential candidates — Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley — have come up with plans they say will make colleges more affordable and provide debt relief for millennials. Though well-intentioned, their plans threaten to drive up costs rather than rein them in. They would all throw more federal money at colleges while offering little but hope that these institutions would hold expenses down. If history is any guide, colleges and universities will channel much of the additional money into areas that don’t directly benefit students.  They might also hike tuition, telling students not to worry because taxpayers will pick up much of the additional burden. A Federal Reserve Bank of New York report found that colleges increased tuition 40 cents for every dollar received in Pell Grants, and 65 cents for every dollar in subsidized loans… At least one college learned how to cut costs. Bruce Benson, president of the University of Colorado. …Nearly 50 years in business, beginning in oil and gas exploration, taught me that tough economic times force measures you should be taking anyway. The recession’s silver lining was the opportunity to introduce a more fiscally responsible institutional mind-set. We took a three-pronged approach: find efficiencies, build collaboration and generate new revenue. Universities aren’t known for economic efficiency, and prerecession CU was no different—which meant there were plenty of cost savings... read more

Golden State: half of its revenue comes from top 1%

LA Times Gyrations in the stock market have taken California’s fragile finances for a ride before — when the dot-com bubble burst, when the Wall Street crash sank the national economy less than a decade ago. So as the market continued its drop Monday, officials began glancing around for their seat belts. More than most states, California depends heavily on taxing the wealthy, pulling about half its income tax revenue from just 1% of residents in recent years. A sustained, significant fall in capital gains could mean a return to budget crises, and the turmoil on Wall Street is a reminder of that vulnerability. Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration isn’t ready to sound the alarm, especially since the last few years have been good ones as investment gains translated into rising revenue. But there are economic droughts, too. Administration officials estimate that a moderate recession could cost the state $40 billion in income over three years, which would quickly wipe out the $3.5 billion that is expected to be in the rainy-day fund by next summer. But the governor has also resisted efforts to make changes to the tax code, which probably would require making people who earn less money contribute more. Spreading others’ wealth is just fine for progressives. Spreading the burden of paying for programs that benefit everyone strikes them as... read more

It sounds like she’s practicing a version of the “stray voltage” theory — say something deliberately over-the-top provocative to shift the conversation

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Hillary the divisive cynic

Jim Geraghty What does Hillary Clinton have in common with terrorist groups? Well, they’re both being investigated by the FBI. Hillary Clinton wants to get out of trouble. So she calls Republicans terrorists . . . During a riff Thursday where Clinton name checked Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Clinton said Republicans are “dead wrong for 21st century America.” “Now, extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world, but it’s a little hard to take from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States,” Clinton said at a speech in Cleveland. “Yet they espouse out of date, out of touch policies. They are dead wrong for 21st century America. We are going forward, we are not going back.” It sounds like she’s practicing a version of the “stray voltage” theory — say something deliberately over-the-top provocative to shift the conversation. John Fund explained the theory last year: Major Garrett, the CBS White House correspondent, has talked with White House aides who confirm that the administration is working from the theory of “stray voltage,” as developed by former White House senior adviser David Plouffe. “The theory goes like this,” Garrett wrote. “Controversy sparks attention, attention provokes conversation, and conversation embeds previously unknown or marginalized ideas in the public consciousness,” Deliberately misstating information about key issues in order to keep certain issues before the public is often a premeditated strategy. “The tactic represents one more step in the embrace of cynicism that has... read more