The Patriot Post® · Daily Digest


https://patriotpost.us/digests/33827-daily-digest-2015-03-12

THE FOUNDATION

“The germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal judiciary; an irresponsible body, (for impeachment is scarcely a scare-crow) working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States, and the government of all be consolidated into one.” –Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Charles Hammond, 1821

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

Ferguson Police Chief Resigns, Two Cops Shot

The Department of Justice made its accusation: The Ferguson Police Department practiced systematic racism. The DOJ named names and so the city’s town manager and municipal judge resigned. Then Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson announced his resignation. In his resignation letter, Jackson wrote, “My resignation will be effective March 19, 2015 to provide for an orderly transition of command. … I will continue to assist the city in any way I can in my capacity as private citizen.” But Wednesday night, the streets around the police department were anything but orderly. As protesters gathered into the early morning, four shots rang out and two officers fell, seriously injured. The Obama administration was going to come after Ferguson officials if they didn’t resign, but did they take into account an emboldened hostility to the peacekeeping force in the city? The department needs reform and leadership has left, but someone tried to kill two cops. Clearly, this isn’t over. More…

Sen. Cotton’s Letter to Iran Is Firmly Constitutional

After the Senate sent its letter to Iran explaining whatever deal John Kerry is currently negotiating would not be a lawful treaty, the Left and its “constitutional scholars” think the 47 senators should be tried for treason. In a White House petition, over 200,000 people said, “United States Senators committed a treasonous offense when they decided to violate the Logan Act, a 1799 law which forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments.” And they actually think this petition will get legal legs. Let’s start with the Constitution, which says in Article II Section 2 that the president “shall have Power by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur [emphasis added].” John Yoo writes at National Review that Obama could make some kind of agreement with Iran, namely a sole executive agreement, which would only be binding with the Obama administration itself. He continues, “But as a matter of constitutional law, the Cotton letter should be no more controversial than a letter that simply enclosed a copy of the U.S. Constitution (without President Obama’s editing).” No, it is the Obama administration that is circumventing the Constitution, as even Kerry admitted that “we’re not negotiating a legally binding plan.” More…

Kerry’s Hypocritical Indignation

Secretary of State John Kerry really wasn’t happy with the 47 Senate Republicans who wrote a letter to Iran warning of the temporary nature of any deal with the Obama administration. Testifying before Congress Wednesday, Kerry said his reaction to the letter was “utter disbelief” because it “ignores more than two centuries of precedent in the conduct of American foreign policy.” He added, “During my 29 years here in the Senate, I never heard of – nor even heard of it being proposed – anything comparable to this. … This risks undermining the confidence that foreign governments, in thousands of important agreements, commit to between the United States and other countries.” Funny that he’s “never even heard of it” because an open letter to Iran restating the obvious hardly compares to Kerry’s own record of going it alone on foreign policy. While he was in the Senate, he traveled to Nicaragua to meet with the communist Sandinistas and then returned home to shill on their behalf. And let’s not forget his most infamous moment: meeting with the North Vietnamese in 1970 and 1971 while still a Navy reserve officer. Few are now willing to bring up this treasonous behavior, but it’s unbelievable hypocrisy for Kerry to attack this letter now.

Here We Go Again: Online Sales Tax Resurrected

An online sales tax bill passed the Senate (with 27 mostly Republicans voting “no”) in 2013 but flamed out in the House. Its sponsors, however, are undeterred. The Hill reports, “Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) rolled out the Marketplace Fairness Act on Tuesday, which would give states more power to collect sales taxes from businesses that don’t have a physical location within their borders.” As Mark Alexander explained two years ago, the MFA is designed to force states to collect taxes for the states in which a purchaser resides, and this amounts to taxation without representation. Clearly, politicians want this bill passed to raise new tax revenue for broken state governments facing budget shortfalls. Mitch McConnell opposed the bill as Senate minority leader. Now that he’s majority leader, we’ll see if he holds true.

Leftists Hail Flawed Gun Ownership Survey

Anti-gun advocates hailed the findings of a new study released this week that claims firearm ownership in America is fading. NBC News writes, “According to the latest General Social Survey, 32 percent of Americans either own a firearm themselves or live with someone who does, which ties a record low set in 2010. That’s a significant decline since the late 1970s and early 1980s, when about half of Americans told researchers there was a gun in their household.” If that sounds strikingly odd considering gun purchases remain near historic highs, that’s because it is. Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, says, “GSS isn’t actually counting the number of firearms in each household. Rather it is counting the number of individuals willing to disclose to a stranger at their front door how many firearms they own.” That’s important because “it is far more likely that the political climate is driving down self-reporting.” By comparison, Gallup, which relies on anonymous phone surveys, puts gun ownership at 42%, a percentage that’s more or less remained constant over the last decade. The Left is attempting to twist this survey as proof today’s America just isn’t that into guns. The last few election cycles suggest otherwise. More…

For more, visit Right Hooks.

Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column

Read The Left’s Latest 2A Assault: Ban Ammo, on Obama’s relentless efforts against Second Amendment rights.

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RIGHT ANALYSIS

‘I Did Not Exchange Classified Information With That Woman’

As news continues to unfold about Hillary Clinton’s secret email servers, which she vowed resulted in “no security breaches” (evoking memories of her finger-wagging husband denying sex allegations with “that woman”), a lesser-reported story broke. The FBI continues to investigate what officials are calling the “worst ever” cyberattack against several federal agencies – including the State Department.

On Tuesday, CNN reported that “suspected Russian hackers have bedeviled State Department’s email system for much of the past year and continue to pose problems for technicians trying to eradicate the intrusion.” Additionally, the same hackers who compromised the State Department’s email system are suspected of being the same hackers who penetrated the systems of the White House and other federal agencies.

While the State Department may not be as secure as it should have been, and the hack appears to have occurred after Clinton departed State, the convenient timing of the story suggests a subtle attempt to soften the blow against the former secretary. Perhaps we’re supposed to believe her violation of federal regulations and consequent placing of our national security at risk were somehow less terrible since the State Department’s email system was hacked, too.

In truth, even the cyberattack against the State Department underscores the seriousness of Clinton’s blatant disregard for federal regulations. At least the hack against State was identified. Clinton, however, wants us to simply take her word for it that her “personal” email system was never compromised.

At her now-infamous press conference Tuesday, she claimed her personal email system “had numerous safeguards” and suffered “no security breaches.” But without analyzing the emails and email data, there is simply no way to know whether the system was breached. And it’s especially troubling that during the early months of her tenure – while she was negotiating the “reset” with Russia – her email servers had very little protection.

Political analyst Sean Davis notes that we already know the email account of Sid Blumenthal, a longtime Hillary confidant, was breached by the famed hacker “Guccifer,” and among the emails exposed were “numerous sensitive work-related e-mails that Blumenthal sent to Hillary” while she was secretary. Of course, as Clinton kept no government email account, these hacked emails would have been sent to her private email account – presumably the one with those “numerous safeguards.”

Amid it all, Hillary’s attempts to reassure the nation fall somewhere between laughable and outrageous. A reporter asked her, “Were you ever specifically briefed on the security implications of using your own email server and using your personal address to email with the president?” Clinton served up a meticulously crafted non-answer: “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material. So I’m certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”

As Davis points out, Clinton’s reply is fraught with problems. For one thing, the question had nothing to do with classified information but specifically with the threat of hacking. Why the prepackaged answer?

Additionally, while Clinton insisted she never sent classified material, she also clearly did not say she never received classified material. And while she claimed there “is” no classified material, as we’ve all come to learn from the Clintons’ history, “is” can be a nebulous word. Perhaps “is” should have been “was,” which then begs the question of what happened to any classified material that “was” but no longer “is” – especially after she deleted thousands of emails. Furthermore, “classified” and “sensitive” are two different things, and Hillary notably did not address sending or receiving “sensitive” information.

One unnamed official wondered, “Was every single email of the secretary of state completely unclassified? Maybe, but it’s hard to imagine.” Indeed it is.

Obama’s spokesman Josh Earnest conveyed he is “not particularly interested in” talking about Clinton’s email. And Clinton herself is obviously hoping Americans adopt her classic “what difference does it make?” approach to the scandal. Yet far beyond a violation of protocol, Clinton’s actions represent a willful and arrogant breach of America’s national security. And that, indeed, does make a difference.

In Putin’s World, the Globe Is Cooling

Great. Russia has said it. Russian official Mikhail Ulyanov claimed the Great Bear has the right to place nuclear weapons in Crimea – the land it took from Ukraine.

“I don’t know if there are nuclear weapons there now,” Ulyanov said. “I don’t know about any plans, but in principle Russia can do it.”

The old enemy’s rhetoric has gone nuclear, and it could portend perilous times, as talk leads to action. And that’s an action the world cannot stand.

Russia has been talking about its right to place nuclear weapons in Crimea since December, when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “Crimea was not a non-nuclear zone in an international law sense but was part of Ukraine, a state which doesn’t possess nuclear arms. Now Crimea has become part of a state which possesses such weapons in accordance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.” He continued, “In accordance with international law. Russia has every reason to dispose of its nuclear arsenal … to suit its interests and international legal obligations.”

But Ulyanov’s comments are especially worrisome because he’s the director for Russia’s department of nuclear non-proliferation and arms control. He’s the man who is supposed to deescalate tension over nuclear stockpiles. He’s supposed to be the advocate for peace. Instead, it’s like someone switched out John Kerry’s talking points for Gen. Martin Dempsey’s.

Just last year, Ulyanov was at the UN saying things like, “An efficient nuclear non-proliferation regime plays a key role in maintaining the international peace and stability as well as moving towards a world free of nuclear weapons.”

What gives?

The way Russia is talking about nuclear arms signals it is hell-bent on returning to feared superpower status. With near-identical quotes, Lavrov and his director claim Crimea was once Ukraine’s but is now Russia’s. Nobody is going to take that strip of land from Russia without a major fight because it cares too much about its territorial gains.

Ukraine foreign ministry spokesman Yevhen Perebyinis condemned the Russian statements, saying, “This is another fact to confirm the absolute unpredictability of Russia, as was the case with Russia’s withdrawal from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces. This arbitrary deployment of nuclear weapons not only violates all international agreements that control nuclear weaponry, Russia plans – if these statements are true – to deploy nuclear weapons in the territory of another state, as Crimea is the territory of Ukraine.”

Many people have been trying to understand the motivations of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Of course, he wants Ukraine, possibly for his own glory and certainly for that of Russia. And Andrew Weiss contends Putin is more nihilistic than most commentators would like to admit. He’s not playing a calculated game of chess, Weiss writes, but “Mr. Putin has largely been improvising his way though the current crisis.”

Putin has isolated himself, surrounding himself with advisers whose only requirement is that they be loyal. A few weeks ago, “Mr. Putin agreed to a new cease-fire framework that was widely seen as advantageous to Moscow,” Weiss writes. “But instead of declaring victory, Mr. Putin chose once again to escalate the conflict.”

While Putin only makes short-term strategies, the stakes in the Ukrainian conflict are too high for Russia to lose.

Commodore Philip Thicknesse, a British veteran of the Falklands War, says Russia has few major seaports – something which it solves with the takeover of Crimea. “A Russia that prefers to believe that it is surrounded by enemies is one thing,” Thicknesse writes. “A Russia denied what it believes to be its birthright – unfettered oceanic access and secure land borders – is another.”

Russia continues nuclear arms rattling, flying bombers up the English Channel and generally playing war. NATO and the U.S. need to respond in two ways. First, the West needs a long-term strategy of choking the Russian economy and stifling its pugnacious “diplomacy.” Second, both the U.S. and NATO should quietly build military capability, but without escalating just yet. It’s diplomacy 101: Speak softly and carry a big stick.

For more, visit Right Analysis.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

British novelist C. S. Lewis (1898-1963): “I care far more how humanity lives than how long. Progress, for me, means increasing goodness and happiness of individual lives. For the species, as for each man, mere longevity seems to me a contemptible ideal.”

Columnist Larry Elder: “The NBA consists of 76 percent black players. But blacks are just 13 percent of the country. Clearly, the league engages in racial discrimination against whites. Silly, right? Well, this is exactly what the sleight-of-hand Department of Justice pulled off to find that the Ferguson Police Department engages in ‘implicit and explicit racial bias’! … New York City is 25 percent black. However, of the traffic stops, blacks comprise 55 percent. The statistical ‘gap’ is 30 points. In Ferguson … the black population is 67 percent, but 85 percent of the traffic stops. The statistical ‘gap’ is 18 points – far smaller than New York’s 30-point ‘gap.’ Why aren’t Messrs. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Eric Holder marching on Times Square? … Richmond, Virginia, is a city of 214,000, with a black population of 50 percent. Eighty-six percent of black Richmond families are headed by a single parent. Of Ferguson’s 67 percent black population, how many kids grew up in fatherless homes? Whatever the answer, isn’t this a far more relevant statistic?”

Economist Stephen Moore: “[I]n a non-right-to-work state, if employees do not pay union dues or fees, they can lose their jobs. So to work at a unionized facility in non-RTW states, you must, in effect, join the union by paying up to 100 percent of the dues and living under the collective bargaining agreement. No payment to the union means no job. If that isn’t coercion, what is? When a robber sticks a knife in your face and says your money or your life, do you really think you have a choice? … Forced-unionism advocates … can argue till the cows come home about how beneficial unions are for workers. But the problem isn’t that they can’t convince me. It’s that they can’t persuade the very blue-collar workers who they claim benefit from the union. … [I]f unions are such a winner for workers, why must they impose laws to force people to join and pay dues? There is no good answer to that one, which is why Wisconsin and a handful of other states are likely to switch to right-to-work and give American workers what liberals used to say they were in favor of: the right to choose.”

Comedian Argus Hamilton: “Hillary Clinton is under fire for creating private e-mail accounts she used as secretary of state so that she could erase any conversations that might incriminate her or embarrass her. Life is a circle. You start out your career by investigating Richard Nixon and you end it by channeling Richard Nixon.”

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