Lying Liars: Pelosi claims Gruber didn’t help write Obamacare; Gruber told PBS he did

Yesterday, the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack firmly rebutted Nancy Pelosi’s ridiculous press conference claim that Jonathan Gruber did not help to write the legislation we so-fondly call Obamacare.

McCormack cited from a 2009 entry on Pelosi’s own website.

Even better proof comes from a June 2012 interview Gruber gave PBS producer Michael Kirk for The Frontline:

Kirk: So now let’s do Obamacare. So a few years go by and what? Your phone rings again?

Gruber: So what happened is I had been working in a number of states, notably California. Some others had tried. And it was clear not much was going to happen without federal leadership.

And then Obama gets elected, and on his health advising team is a number of my friends from the Clinton administration who worked on health care reform round one. I like to think of it as sort of the preseason of what became the ultimate — I don’t want to demean the amazing amount of work that went into that, but these are veterans of those wars who were now on the Obama team saying: “Look, we have the opportunity to do what we were unable to do under Clinton and get this done. We think the Massachusetts model is the way to go. We would like you to come help the administration put the numbers together just like you did for Massachusetts.”

So I went down shortly after the election. I worked with the transition team to help put the numbers together for the administration. And then, essentially, most of 2009 I was really on loan from the administration to Congress, particularly the Senate Finance Committee, to help them put the numbers together on what became the finance committee bill, which really became Obamacare. Yeah, that’s what I did.

From the Obama Mandate God’s ears to yours.

Impeachable Offense: Better late than never, Krauthammer on executive amnesty

The ‘New York Times’, an unofficial member of the administration’s Politburo, is cheerleading Obama’s latest “plan” for illegal immigrants:

President Obama will ignore angry protests from Republicans and announce as soon as next week a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration enforcement system that will protect up to five million unauthorized immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits, according to administration officials who have direct knowledge of the plan.

Asserting his authority as president to enforce the nation’s laws with discretion, Mr. Obama intends to order changes that will significantly refocus the activities of the government’s 12,000 immigration agents. One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away.

Leave it to Obama, and the ‘NYT’, to miss the significant fact that only Congress, as defined by Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, has the constitutional authority to regulate immigration.

Charles Krauthammer, with whom I often agree, speaking on Fox News last night, said that executive amnesty would be an impeachable offense.

“Look, I believe it is an impeachable offense,” Krauthammer told [Megyn] Kelly.

“If the circumstances were different, if we were at the beginning of a presidency, if we hadn’t had years when the Congress has been supine and unresponsive at other grabs of their authority by the executive–like Obama unilaterally changing Obamacare after it was passed about 30 times with no response from the Congress–the same as Obama essentially re-writing some of the drug laws.

“This idea of prosecutorial discretion is really a travesty. It is intended for extreme cases. For a case where you want to show mercy for an individual or two where it’s unusual incident, unusual circumstances and you say, okay, we’re going to give this person a pass. It was never intended to abolish a whole class of people subject to a law and to essentially abolish whole sections of a law. And that’s exactly what’s happening here.”

In our 2013 book ‘Impeachable Offenses’, my co-author, Aaron Klein, and I wrote:

All the talk of future immigration reform ignores how President Obama has already overseen interagency departmental directives that have bypassed Congress and granted de facto amnesty for millions of illegal aliens. Since taking office, the president has illegally, willfully, and deliberately been derelict of his duties as the chief executive while consistently usurping the constitutional authority vested with Congress to regulate immigration.

We also wrote:

There is no precedent in American history for a president or any other federal official to be impeached for granting mass amnesty to criminals and lawbreakers–which is what illegal immigrants are–or handing them the keys to the kingdom at the same time.

While there is no precedent, that does not mean that it could not happen. Sadly, Obama’s most recent promise to wave his magic wand is only one in a long line of such promises — and mostly symbolic. The horse long left the barn and has been happily grazing along the U.S. Southern Border — and nibbling out of taxpayer pockets — for years.

About Jonathan Gruber and his ‘stupid’ Americans

Perhaps you’d be interested to know where Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist who claims to have been one of the Romneycare and Obamacare chief “architects”, picked up his nasty habit of referring to — three four times at last count — “stupid” Americans, and to the “stupidity of the American voter” in particular. (UPDATE: Videos continue to surface. Oh, and Obama knew the “Cadillac” plan was going to be a problem. And, well, there’s a dirty little secret about Massachusetts. Before long we’ll have a whole Gruber video library of sleeze.)

We need look no further than Gruber’s MIT professor, the late political scientist, Louis Menand III.

Upon Menand’s passing in February 2008, Gruber told the ‘Boston Globe':

Even among college professors and the politically passionate, Louis Menand III was notably unabashed.

“He would say in class, ‘There are two types of people: There are Democrats and there are stupid people,’ ” said Jonathan Gruber, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who once sat in Dr. Menand’s classes as a student.

Got that? Gruber learned from his MIT professor that, if you are not a Democrat, then you are a stupid person.

MIT also quoted Gruber:

Professor of Economics Jonathan Gruber SB ’87, a former student of Menand, said, “He was nothing less than an intellectual giant. Louis provided me with a moral compass for thinking about the world and policy issues in the world. There is no way I would be where I am today without his incredible influence. I will miss him dearly.”

The MIT memorial continued:

Outside of MIT, Menand was a consultant on higher education; a member the American Civil Liberties Union, where he served as vice-chair of the Academic Freedom Committee; and a member of the Massachusetts ACLU board.

An unabashed Democrat, Menand was an advocate for civil rights throughout his life. . . .

You have to wonder if Menand included even the “stupid people” in his civil rights pursuits.

Apparently Menand subscribed to the mindset of 19th century “Utopian Socialist”, John Stuart Mill, a hero to the New Left of the ’60s.*

Back to Gruber: Just in case you might think that Gruber and John Stuart Mill have nothing in common, you’d be wrong.

Like Gruber, John Stuart Mill reputedly had a fondness for hidden taxes.

BONUS: Another tidbit on Gruber surfaced during the months prior to the passage of Obamacare. James Soviero reported that

Before the ironically named Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed, Barack Obama assured voters he had, “a health care plan that would save the average family $2,500 on their premiums.” During heated debate over the controversial bill, the president pointed to “expert analysis” from Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist, Jonathan Gruber, to support his claim.

Gruber’s role in the whole affair came under scrutiny because of some very lucrative deals he’d enjoyed with our federal government. Beginning in 2008, and through 2009, he’d received $566,310 from National Institutes of Health to study Medicare Part D. Mr. Gruber also got $392,600 in no-bid contracts from the Department of Health and Human Services….while he was making recommendations to Obama’s policy advisers.

While “studying” on the public’s dime, Gruber concluded the new law would save people money. Strongly criticizing an insurance industry’s report predicting premiums would jump, he insisted their predictions were deeply flawed. The MIT expert was certain payments would decline for both individuals and families, whether they received government subsidies or not. Insurance companies argued the federal mandates for minimal coverage were so overreaching, costs for the policies would have to be raised dramatically.

Now we find, from Mr. Gruber himself, that we paid close to one million bucks to get lousy information. Last year, Gruber was retained by several states to measure the affects of ObamaCare on their citizens. In a reversal of his previous position, he informed officials from those states, the price for premiums would sharply increase. He wrote, “After the application of tax subsidies, 59% of the individual market will experience an average premium increase of 31%.”

As long ago as January 2010, posters at the ‘Daily Kos’ were not amused:

Jonathan Gruber, who has been the biggest proponent of the excise tax, and was quoted extensively in several articles and linked to by other health care analyst bloggers to defend the excise tax, did not disclose that he was paid by the HHS to the tune of $297,600 in his recent and ongoing contract to provide technical assistance for evaluation options for national healthcare reform.

This contract apparently was a continuation of another contract he’d held for $95,000 from March 2009 to July 25, 2009 according to emptywheel.

So, for the entire year, he received $392,000 from HHS and did not disclose that at all in any of his articles, except in a December 24, 2009 article for the New England Journal of Medicine. You have to search really hard to find the form of disclosure on that article.

As ‘Daily Kos’ pointed out, not once in Gruber’s articles in the eight months prior did he disclose that he was on the HHS payroll. This included a 2009 article published in the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ that required full disclosure.

The liberal blog was also highly critical of the White House’s description of Gruber as an “objective voice on health care reform.” Read the rest of the article. Gruber’s, and the White House’s, dishonesty was/is overwhelming.

So, folks. We’ve all been had, even the Kos Kids. Again. Not only is all of this seemingly a big joke to Mr. Gruber, i.e. “stupid” American voters, it also has been a very lucrative one for him personally.


Note: See Todd Gitlin’s ‘The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage’ (page 124). Also see Aaron Klein/Brenda J. Elliott’s ‘The Manchurian President’ for the connection between the New Left/Students for a Democratic Society and ’60s’ radical Tom Hayden. Hayden — a “principal author of a new SDS manifesto,” according to A.J. Langguth (‘Our Vietnam’, page 356): “assessed America from the perspective of John Stuart Mill, Albert Camus and C. Wright Mills. . . .”

Less than 6 degrees of separation: Code Pink ‘fundraising partner’, the DNC, and George Soros

It looks like another tidbit in the daily progressive puzzle has slickly been tipped down the rabbit hole. By all appearances, Democracy In Action, Code Pink’s so-called “fundraising partner” in 2011, is MIA.

But is it?

I am referring to a 2011 article by Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft and Andrea Shea King (referenced here) that includes information about far-left “peace” organization Code Pink’s “involvement in the 2011 overthrow of the U.S. allied government of then President Hosni Mubarak.” Code Pink had issued an appeal for funding in conjunction with its “fundraising partner”, Democracy In Action.

But which Democracy In Action organization is it? There are a number of web sites that pop up with similar names.

A clue to the identity of the real Democracy In Action comes via About.com. Joanne Fritz, a contributor to About.com’s “Nonprofit Charitable Orgs” section, in an undated graph writes:

    Some third party processors specialize in nonprofit credit card processing, have a centralized website that you can refer donors to, offer other services such as sending acknowledgment messages, and website pages that can be branded by your nonprofit. A branded site, however, does not mean that the donor’s credit card statement will carry the receiving nonprofit’s name. Nonprofits using third-party processors commonly include information on the acknowledgment message to the donor about what they will see on their statements.

    Popular third party processors in this category include Network for Good, which charges processing fees that range from 3% for its custom service to 4.75% for its basic service. Democracy in Action works with social change nonprofits to provide credit card processing and customer relationship management. Its fees are based on nonprofit clients’ number of supporters.

So. Guess who is on the Network for Good board of directors? Danica Remy, managing director of — wait. for. it. — the ‘Big Time Money Funnel’ itself, Tides!

    Danica Remy has been with Tides since 2003 and serves as Managing Director, previously overseeing the operations and governance functions across Tides Network which includes Tides Foundation, Tides Center and Tides Shared Spaces. Since 2008 she has been leading Tides Advocacy Fund.

The About.com link to Democracy In Action, an info page on its own web site, takes you to a dead end.

However, it is clear from the About.com blurb that Network for Good and Democracy In Action are not “fundraising partners” as much as they are two more clearinghouses for the anonymous redistribution of progressive funds.

Okay. Back to our search for the real DIA.

In case you have not guessed by now, like all good little progressive entities, Democracy In Action has changed since 2011 and morphed into Democracy Engine.

Wonder what Democracy Engine is all about? Short answer: Just more of the same with progressive elites at the helm.

    Democracy Engine helps organizations channel funds to candidates and causes — engaging their membership to effect real change. With simple and effective online tools, Democracy Engine provides a solution for anyone who donates, manages, tracks, raises or receives financial contributions on behalf of candidates, organizations, committees or causes. What’s more, Democracy Engine’s universal platform ensures that organizations won’t have to change fundraising systems as they shift focus between state, local and national elections.

    Democracy Engine integrates seamlessly with established fundraising and data management systems. Because the platform has been written with campaign finance regulations in mind, it allows organizations to focus less on internal administration and more on the business of raising money for the candidates and causes they support.

    Fundraisers who use Democracy Engine can be sure that they are getting the benefits of both cutting edge technology and an experienced legal team, which together act as a reliable and time-tested partner in managing the constantly changing world of campaign finance. In short, Democracy Engine provides an easy way for organizations to raise money for their endorsed candidates and causes.

Who are the progressive elites operating Democracy Engine?

The CEO is Jonathan Zucker, former “executive director for ActBlue, the nation’s largest source of funds for Democrats.” Before that?

    Zucker served as national director of operations for finance at the Democratic National Committee, where he was responsible for legal and compliance issues, vetting and data management for the DNC’s then record-breaking $100 million major-donor program in the 2004 election cycle. For more than a decade, Zucker has worked with a wide variety of progressive and Democratic organizations as a field organizer, fundraiser, administrator and attorney, including The Interfaith Alliance, Human Rights Campaign, Gill Foundation and the Democratic Leadership Council.

According to Discover the Networks, ActBlue

    Inspired by the grassroots fundraising network that Howard Dean assembled during his 2004 presidential bid, ActBlue (AB) is an Internet-based political action committee (PAC) that bundles and transmits contributions which individual donors earmark for various progressive candidates, political parties, PACs, and outside spending groups. … True to its mission, the ActBlue website enables visitors to easily and quickly contribute any sum of money, with the mere click of a computer mouse, to any Democratic candidate for federal office—as well as for many state offices. Partnering in this endeavor with Salsa Labs, AB has grown into the largest fundraising platform for Democratic Party candidates in America. … In the 2012 election cycle, AB raised $148,845,935 for Democratic recipients. From 2004 through 2012, the cumulative figure was approximately $280 million.

BAM! There you have it — there’s your six degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Needing more elite progressive political connections? Here they come.

The Chief Technology Officer is Erik Pennebaker, whose Democracy Engine bio states

    Pennebaker brings more than 15 years of experience in systems engineering, Web hosting, computer programming, and systems and network administration to Democracy Engine. His experience with large-scale contribution processing, combined with his intimate understanding of complex data management for bundling operations, make him uniquely qualified to lead Democracy Engine’s technical development efforts.

    Pennebaker’s deep commitment to progressive politics and unparalleled knowledge of Web-based fundraising systems have combined to fuel his success working on a number of groundbreaking national political campaigns, including Hillary Clinton’s campaigns for Senate and president. During the 2008 election cycle, the system he created for then-Sen. Clinton was the online heart of her more than $221 million fundraising effort.

    After providing Web-based fundraising support for Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid, Pennebaker acted as lead developer on a contribution system that powered online donations to several 2006 Senate campaigns. He also oversaw Sen. Kerry’s multimillion dollar bundling operation for various Democratic candidates.

And he still maintains Al Gore’s national web site.

According to one source, Pennebaker has been with Democracy Engine since 2009.

Democracy Engine’s client list is the usual who’s who of progressive groups, to include the Democratic National Campaign Committee, Planned Parenthood, SEIU, and United Auto Workers. Technology companies providing support to Democracy Engine include Blue State Digital, which originated circa 2003/4 with the Howard Dean campaign, and has been long-associated with the Obama campaigns, and Salsa Labs.

According to the Wikipedia, Salsa Labs

    … was co-founded by April Pedersen and Chris Lundberg. Its formation was preceded by DemocracyInAction, a nonprofit organization Pedersen and Lundberg co-founded in 2004 to make online organizing, fundraising, and advocacy tools accessible to smaller nonprofits working to advance social, political, and environmental causes. … Salsa Labs claims that it supports “over 2,000 user groups’ relationships with over 40 million supporters, members, donors, activists, and fans all around the world.”

Pedersen’s LinkedIn bio is lengthy but includes one interesting item: she worked for three months in 1997 as an intern at the pro-Communist anti-American Institute for Policy Studies.

Lundberg, Salsa Lab’s CEO, left in October 2012. Prior to co-founding Democracy In Action, in 2007 Lundberg co-founded Wired for Change, a “consulting and technology services company serving over 400 political campaigns and hundreds of progressive organizations to develop the most innovative and effective online campaigns to encourage engagement, drive message, and promote change.” In January 2013, Pedersen and Lundberg started their third venture, Frakture.

In March 2010, Mark J. Fitzgibbons reported in the American Thinker on the possibly-astroturf Coffee Party and its connections with Democracy In Action, Wired for Change, and George Soros funding:

    The Coffee Party website says its 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status is pending with the IRS, which must approve some, but not all, tax-exempt activist entities. Any 501(c)(4) may engage in lobbying, so contributions to them are not deductible. The contribution landing page for the Coffee Party says that it partners with Democracyinaction.org, a 501(c)(3) organization, meaning contributions to the latter are tax-deductible.

    The About Page for Democracyinaction.org states that it gets funding from Open Society Institute, George Soros’s organization. Because contributions to 501(c)(3)s are tax-deductible, those funds may not be transferred to 501(c)(4)s, which are allowed to lobby.

    Democracyinaction.org offers professional services the same or similar to what many for-profit companies provide and is described at Guidestar.com as follows:

    DemocracyInAction is a nonprofit dedicated to leveraging the unique power of online communications for invigorating those committed to ecology, social justice and human rights. To a broad swath of these social change leaders, we provide cutting-edge e-advocacy tools for pennies on the dollar relative to the fees demanded by the private sector. In a word, we democratize e-activism, freeing practitioners to pour resources into mission and strategy.

    The most recent tax return for Democracyinaction.org (its IRS Form 990) shows it gets far less in grants than it earns in program service revenue, which I believe are fees it charges to its progressive clients.

    Democracyinaction.org is affiliated with for-profits Salsa Enterprise and Wired for Change. Wired for Change lists its “political organization” clients to include the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and ACORN (and we thought ACORN wasn’t a political organization). Its candidate clients include Chuck Schumer and Jerry Brown.

“In other words,” Fitzgibbons noted, “these organizations are consultants playing in the big leagues.”

Indeed.

The no-longer-available March 2010 Coffee Party Fact Check once addressed the issue of George Soros’ involvement with the Coffee Party and Democracy In Action:

    Q: Is Coffee Party USA affiliated with billionaire George Soros, the founder Soros Fund Management and Open Society Institute?

    No. Democracy in Action is a vendor that licenses Internet technology for websites, including ours. Democracy in Action has received funding from Mr. Soros, but Coffee Party USA has not received any money from either the Open Society Institute or from Mr. Soros.

The integration of Salsa Labs from Democracy in Action to Democracy Engine was not without issues, however. The Democracy Engine FAQ tells the tale.

Also note that Democracy Engine appears unconnected to the Democracy in Action run by Eric Appleman.

A fall 2004 “sketch” of the John Kerry campaign bears the name of “Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action” at the bottom of the page. (Pennebaker is listed here as one of Kerry’s Internet Programmers.) Appleman launched the Democracy in Action web site on the 2000 presidential campaign in May 1998.

A 2008 disclaimer on the George Washington University web site states that

    DEMOCRACY IN ACTION is not an official project of the George Washington University and any errors and interpretations are the responsibility of the author, Eric M. Appleman. Mr. Appleman graduated from GWU with a degree in political communications and has focused on analyzing presidential campaigns since then. He has a particular interest in understanding what works and what does not in presidential campaigns and in visual aspects of political communication. DEMOCRACY IN ACTION is not connected to or part of any partisan or ideological group. The site is sponsored in part by GWU’s Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet, but receives no funding from the Institute.

However, Appleman’s LinkedIn profile states that he has run Democracy in Action continuously since 1993 (not 1998) and he plans to continue his activities for the 2016 election.

There you have it. All (hopefully) of the pieces linking Code Pink with its “fundraising partner”, Democracy In Action — now known as Democracy Engine.

Next question: Are Code Pink and Democracy Engine still “partners”? Well, silly wabbit, of course they are!

. Code Pink Donations. Check!

. Support Syrian Women and Girls!. Check!

. International Women’s Day Delegation to Gaza. Check!

Check! Check! Check!

Obama’s ‘welfare case’ space pioneer (and major donor) wants to launch military satellites

Remember Obama’s ‘welfare case’ space pioneer, Elon Musk? Well, now the SpaceX billionaire wants to launch military satellites.

While your gaze was fixed on round two of Lois Lerner’s Fifth-Amendment-A-Thon, Musk was busy testifying before another congressional committee. The LA Times reports:

    Los Angeles billionaire Elon Musk, chief executive of Hawthorne rocket maker SpaceX, testified before Congress that the U.S. Air Force and other agencies are paying too high a price to launch its most valuable satellites into orbit.

    The government pays billions to a sole provider to launch nearly all of its spy satellites and other high-profile spacecraft, without seeking competitive bids. That provider is United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of aerospace behemoths Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co.

    The program will cost nearly $70 billion through 2030, according to the Government Accountability Office. And Musk wants a piece of those lucrative deals.

    On Wednesday, he told the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense that the virtual monopoly has suppressed competition since 2006.

Given Musk’s track record, as I outlined here, some of those Defense Department billions will soon flow his way.

Keep your eye on campaign finance reports from the DNC and OFA for the first clue.

Silence Dogood: Kerry surrenders US foreign policy, Putin carves out imperialistic future

Our current Secretary of State John “I served in Vietnam” Kerry whined on the Sunday talk shows about how Russian President (and Dictator-for-Life) Vladimir Putin was playing by “19th century rules, not 21st century norms” in the ever-deepening crisis in the Crimea region of the Ukraine. This kind of feckless hand wringing is an epidemic within this administration and the Progressive belief system as a whole. What the president and secretary of state fail to realize is that Putin plays by his own rules — and his rulebook says that the aggressor in any conflict makes the rules and sets the terms.

Putin, as Russia’s Commander-in-Chief, shows by his moves in the Crimea that he has done his homework on the current adminstration and he knows how it will react even before it does. It is no coincidence that Putin moved troops into the Crimea two days after the administration announced US troop reductions to pre-WW II levels. It does not take much time or effort for his intelligence officers stationed in Western Europe to see that the once mighty and powerful U.S. Army Europe (USAEUR) — with two full Corps, five divisions, and a handful of separate brigades at its command — is a shell of its former self.

All that remains of the force that during the Cold War would stop the advance of the WARSAW Pact if WW III kicked off is one Stryker Cavalry Brigade, one Airborne Infantry Brigade, a Combat Aviation Brigade, and if pressed into service, an Infantry Battalion that is primarily used for training. That’s it as far as ground forces.

Last spring, USAREUR proudly proclaimed the last of the M1 Abrams tanks and M2A2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles would be transported from Germany back to the US. In the administration’s latest round of decimation of the U.S. Military, it announced that one of the main types of aircraft — the A10 “Warthog” — that would be needed in a dust up with the Russians is going away.

Not just a wing here or a squadron there. All of them … gone.

You’d have to be the most naive person on the planet to think that Putin and his military planners didn’t notice that and figure it into their war plans. Even if the US wanted to respond with more than empty rhetoric, it couldn’t. NATO can’t either because without the might of the U.S. Military, NATO doesn’t have the will or the manpower to pull off a counter move against the Russian forces assembled in the Crimea.

Former KBG agent Putin knows that when POTUS goes on TV and wags a finger towards him telling him to pull his troops back, Obama doesn’t really mean it. Especially when a mere half hour later he’s at a posh DNC function cheerily declaring “It’s after 5 o’clock, that means it’s officially Happy Hour in the Democratic Party”.

Putin knows that Obama grew up at the knee of well-known Communist Frank Marshall Davis, is a devout follower of Saul Alinsky, and that his talk about the right of everyone to seek freedom is just that, talk. He also knows that in the current secretary of state (and I’d say his predecessor as well) is what Nikita Khrushchev allegedly described as a “useful idiot”.

Putin has not forgotten that Kerry, the current tough-sounding political functionary, is the same one that betrayed his brothers in arms in 1971 with his perjury before Congress. And that this is the same man who tried to go to Paris and negotiate a surrender with Communist North Vietnam and who threw his medals over the White House fence.

Putin also realizes that Secretary of Defense Hagel is a mere “yes” man to this president who will do what he’s told and ask no questions when it comes to dismantling the military that once faced down the Soviet Empire that Vlad seeks to rebuild.

While the Obama administration has been dismantling the US Armed Forces, the Russians have been modernizing, upgrading, and expanding theirs. Russian spy ships are once again docking in Havana, Bear Bombers are once again challenging US airspace off the coast of Alaska and flying their old routes towards Western Europe as well to test reaction times of European air defense. And let’s not forget that Putin has moved long range ballistic missles to their most forward point in Western Russia since the end of the Cold War.

Putin the politician knows that he has a limited time frame to accomplish his goals. His expansionist desires are only possible when weak-kneed spineless Progressives occupy the White House. Putin knows that even a RINO like George W. Bush wasn’t afraid to put the might of the U.S. military behind his tough talk when it was called for. He has no such worries with Progressive Democrats running the show.

However, Putin is keen enough on American politics to see the dissatisfaction with Democrats in the US and that Conservative Republicans stand a better than average chance at taking the Senate, holding the House, and setting up a return to Republican leadership in the Presidency. If he’s going to rebuild the empire, Putin has to do it now. He is also taking advantage of the current U.S. strategy of abandoning our traditional allies and foreign policy bullwarks while cozying up to people who want to see dead Americans across the globe.

Traditional allies and even more recent ones across the Middle East are turning to Russia as a new best friend in the region has come to the realization that America’s word doesn’t mean squat right now.

John Kerry’s very public declaration last November that the Monroe Doctorine is “dead” empowered Russia to seek to negotiate for miltiary bases in South and Central America. By the time US voters can replace the Keystone Cops in charge of foreign policy with adults who understand how the world runs, we’re going to find ourselves surrounded, outgunned, and without a friend.

Kerry has it wrong on what Putin is doing, however. It’s not 19th century rules Vladimir is playing by, it’s 21st century realism versus 1960’s anti-war political philosophy run amok in Washington. If anyone is stuck in the past it’s the current crop of Progressives who are running this country into the ground. While Progressiveds are busy turning swords into ploughshares, the Russians (along with Communist China and North Korea) are beating ploughshares into Kalishnakovs, MiGs, and T-82s.

So, while the Olympics were going on and the world was focused on Sochi, Putin was focused on the Crimea and his once-dreaded Black Sea Fleet. It’s not a far distance to travel from Sochi to the Crimea and Putin’s “Ring of Steel” that was created to ostensibly protect the Olympics from Muslim terror threats now threatens the people of the Ukraine.

And what about our soldiers? What are they prepariing for? According to an article at theweek.com, sailors and airmen are too busy working with an LGBT support group on an all ranks “Drag Queen” show to worry about warrior tasks and battle drills.

No wonder Putin and the rest of the world have lost their respect for the United States and no longer take seriously anything we say when they aim to further their imperialistic goals.

~ Silence Dogood

The neverending saga of California’s ‘water wars’ and the Delta smelt

It is amusing, to say the least, that the tale of California’s Delta smelt is again in the news. I first wrote about it five years ago, in February 2009, with an update a year later. “The California Water v. Delta Smelt War” was the number one read story of my RBO blog posts prior to July 2011, when it was tucked away in the archive.

Greg Pollowitz fact-checked last Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher, which featured the guest appearance of National Review’s Charles Cooke. The Maher-Cooke discussion included “climate change” and Cooke’s January 27 article, “Green Drought: For the sake of the smelt, California farmland lies fallow.”

Cooke writes:

    You have almost certainly never heard of the Delta smelt and, in all honesty, nor should you have. As fish go, it is undistinguished. Inedible, short-lived, and growing to a maximum length of just under three inches, smelt are of interest to nobody much — except, that is, to the implacable foot soldiers of the modern environmental movement, some of whom have recently elevated the smelt’s well-being above all else that has traditionally been considered to be of value. Human beings, the production of food, and the distribution of life-enabling water can all be damned, it seems. All hail the smelt, the most important animal in America.

“Recently” is a relative term. As I said, I wrote about this situation five long years ago. The story was actually broken in national news in May 2009 by Ainsley Earhardt, as you can see for yourself at the end of this post.

Here’s what I wrote back then: [Warning: All links may no longer be active.]

san-joaquin-sacramento-delta-1Update 12/15/10: “U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to re-examine and rewrite its plan for the threatened delta smelt.”

    The agency’s solution for shoring up the collapsing species – namely cutting water exports to California cities and farms – is “arbitrary” and “capricious,” the Fresno judge wrote in his 225-page decision.

    “Despite the harm visited on California water users, (the Fish and Wildlife Service) has failed to provide lawful explanations for the apparent over-appropriation of project water supplies for species protection,” Wanger wrote. “The public cannot afford sloppy science and uni-directional prescriptions that ignore California’s water needs.”

h/t for the update info to Gateway Pundit.



    One third of the world’s population are already facing problems due to both water shortage and poor drinking water quality. Effects include massive outbreaks of disease, malnourishment and crop failure. Furthermore, excessive use of water has seen the degradation of the environment costing the world billions of dollars.–SaveWater.com.

This takes us to the reason for this post, an article published December 17, 2008, in The Bakersfield Californian. Staff writer Courtenay Edelhart reported on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision regarding water districts that “rely on the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta (above) for much of their water supply” and that “could potentially hike water rates for consumers and hurt farmers already smarting from a drought.”

    In 2007, a federal judge ruled state and federal pumps sending some 6 million acre-feet of delta water south to Kern County and other users each year could wipe out the endangered smelt, a tiny silver fish. The court ruled pumping had to be curtailed by about a third until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could weigh in on the problem.

    delta-smeltOn Monday, the federal agency submitted a 400-page “biological opinion” to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on the effects of pumping by the Federal Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project. The agency concluded pumping was “likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the delta smelt (right) and adversely modify its critical habitat,” and offered a plan to mitigate damage.

    The plan would keep current restrictions in place, and even more limits could kick in under certain conditions. Further cuts would be triggered in a variety of scenarios, including limited rainfall during key periods in the fish’s spawning cycle.

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