Category Archives: Politics

Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business

Retailer pays a price for getting too close to Obama

The power of the purse, particularly in a capitalistic society, is mighty, and business boycotts are a potent tool in the hands of the masses to enforce economic and social fairness. Through the use of the ballot and the wallet, we the people have life or death power over virtually every aspect of our nation.

Astute business people generally do not make their political views widely known, because they realize that about half of their customers agree with them and half of them do not. There certainly is no need to unnecessarily create animosity, especially when you are trying to sell products. In the case of Costco, a company highly respected for very wise business practices, Jim Sinegal, the co-founder and CEO until recently, has made no secret of his profound admiration for President Obama and his policies.

For the sake of disclosure, before I go further, I should reveal that I have been a member of the Costco Board of Directors for 15 years. There are people on the board of several political persuasions, and we are all friendly and work well together because politics plays no role in business decisions. In the years that I have had the privilege of serving on the Costco board, I have never witnessed a single incident where politics influenced a business decision. Not only would that be incredibly unwise, since both customers and staff are heavily represented on both sides of the political aisle, but it would lead to mass resignations and membership cancellations, including yours truly.

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New Surveillance Whistleblower: The NSA Violates the Constitution

John Napier Tye is speaking out to warn Americans about illegal spying. The former State Department official, who served in the Obama administration from 2011 to 2014, declared Friday that ongoing NSA surveillance abuses are taking place under the auspices of Executive Order 12333, which came into being in 1981, before the era of digital communications, but is being used to collect them promiscuously. Nye alleges that the Obama administration has been violating the Constitution with scant oversight from Congress or the judiciary.

“The order as used today threatens our democracy,” he wrote in The Washington Post. “I am coming forward because I think Americans deserve an honest answer to the simple question: What kind of data is the NSA collecting on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?”

Executive Order 12333 is old news to national-security insiders and the journalists who cover them, but is largely unknown to the American public, in part because officials have a perverse institutional incentive to obscure its role. But some insiders are troubled by such affronts to representative democracy. A tiny subset screw up the courage to inform their fellow citizens.

Tye is but the latest surveillance whistleblower, though he took pains to distinguish himself from Snowden and his approach to dissent. “Before I left the State Department, I filed a complaint with the department’s inspector general, arguing that the current system of collection and storage of communications by U.S. persons under Executive Order 12333 violates the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures,” Tye explained. “I have also brought my complaint to the House and Senate intelligence committees and to the inspector general of the NSA.”

White House Fights to Keep Shirley Sherrod Emails Secret

Admin says public does not have ‘any need for access to those documents’

The Obama administration is trying to keep reams of White House emails regarding the 2010 firing of former Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod secret.

Justice Department lawyers argued in U.S. District Court last week that documents filed recently in Sherrod’s libel lawsuit against the late Andrew Breitbart—who published edited video clips that led the White House to fire Sherrod over accusations of racism—should be sealed and not released to the public.

Josh Gerstein of Politico reports:

Court filings are normally public, but the Justice Department said the e-mails from the accounts of nine White House staffers and an additional number of Agriculture Department officials should be kept under wraps in part because the public already has enough information through official statements about Sherrod’s forced resignation and the ensuing events.

“The parties to this case have no need for ‘public access to the documents at issue’ because they can litigate under seal any issue to which those documents are relevant. Neither does the public at large have any need for access to those documents. As the United States has acknowledged in this case, plaintiff’s resignation from USDA ‘implicate[d] sensitive issues and significant public interest,” DOJ lawyers Charles Glass and Arthur Goldberg wrote. “Those matters have already been addressed, however, by the statements about plaintiff made by Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack and by then-White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs at or about the time of plaintiff’s resignation. Those matters have also been addressed by the thousands of pages of documents dealing with plaintiff that USDA has produced to the public pursuant to [the Freedom of Information Act.]”

The 5 Happiest Cities In America Are In One State & The Unhappiest Places Have One Thing in Common

What could it be? What *could* it be?

Some might suspect that they’re just putting something in the water, but the five happiest cities in America are all in the same state: Louisiana. Those cities are Lafayette, Houma, Shreveport-Bossier City, Baton Rouge, and Alexandria.

The Northeast and one city in the Midwest did not fare too well: Scranton, Erie, and Pittsburgh, PA, Gary, IN, and New York City were found to be the top five unhappiest cities. Nearly all of the unhappiest places in the nation lean heavily Democratic when it comes to voting.

The paper examined data from a CDC study called the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and adjusted for age, sex, income, and other factors.

Other “abnormally happy” cities include Charlotte, NC, and Naples, FL. Is it just me, or is there a pattern here, and does it have something to do with southern cities?

The study examined why unhappy cities continue to see such population growth.

Excellent!

Dr. Ben Carson: ‘Starting to Think About’ 2016 WH Run

On Tuesday, Dr. Ben Carson said he is starting to think about running for the White House in 2016.

Carson, the retired brain surgeon, won a Western Conservative Summit straw poll this weekend in Colorado, and the Draft Ben Carson for President Committee has raised more than similar groups for Hillary Clinton and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) have.

“I certainly didn’t give it much thought early on,” he said  before noting that “there’s just hundreds of people” who are “so enthusiastic” every place he goes.

Carson mentioned that hundreds turned out for a book signing on Monday evening at Costco, and he said, of the enthusiastic response he receives, “I can’t simply ignore it.”

“So I am starting to think about it,” he said. “But it certainly wasn’t on my bucket list when I retired.”

They probably couldn’t get a good Obama selfie from the moon…

White House Reporters Lodge ‘Formal Complaint’ Over ‘Intense Secrecy’ Surrounding Moon Landing Event

I swear, Obama’s like Forrest Gump insinuating himself in historical pictures and texts…

obama-on-moonAt a time of bad news and sagging approval ratings, a meeting between President Barack Obama and the crew of Apollo 11 to mark the 45th anniversary of the moon landing might seem like a welcome change — but instead became a story about the White House’s lack of transparency.

The White House Correspondents Association made a formal complaint to White House press secretary Josh Earnest asking why the meeting was closed to reporters and TV cameras, and only open to still photographers for less than a minute.

“On behalf of the correspondents association I just want to lodge a formal complaint about Apollo 11 event today,” WHCA board member Major Garrett, a CBS News reporter said during the briefing.  ”The astronauts were among the most visibly televised national heroes this country has ever known. That entire program is financed by the American taxpayer. The stills presentation of that, limits to television coverage of that event, we believe that that is a classic definition of something that should have the broadest press coverage imaginable.”

Earnest responded,”Understood. These are legitimate American heroes. On that, you and I can agree.”

Later in the briefing, ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl asked why the White House has such “intense secrecy” for this event.

“It’s merely a scheduling matter,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. Obama was signing a bill on job training before departing for three days of fundraising on the west coast.

Just because I don’t advocate their lifestyle, doesn’t mean I hate them…

Sadly, the feeling is not reciprocated…

10313986_10152035450121576_1708761800635317196_nIf you need an example of this dynamic, just take a look at what’s happening to former NFL head coach Tony Dungy. In a recent interview, he was asked about Michael Sam, the first ‘openly gay’ player drafted into the NFL. Dungy had this to say: “I wouldn’t have [drafted] him. Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it.  It’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen.”

An exceedingly reasonable opinion, and one shared by most NFL officials, which is why Sam wasn’t taken until the 7th round. Notice, Dungy never said that he hates Sam because of his sexuality, nor did he say that Sam shouldn’t be in the NFL. In fact, he said the opposite. Dungy’s position is very clear. Sam is a mediocre talent and a marginal prospect. He’s too slow to be a linebacker and too small to be a defensive end. He doesn’t have the athleticism to be a starter, and he may very well lack the talent to make the squad. At best, Michael Sam will see the field for kickoffs and punts, and that will be it.

Is an unspectacular player worth the media circus that will follow? Would any coach in their right mind relish the thought of being accused of bigotry if Sam has to be cut to make room for better players? Does any football organization want to be tossed into the middle of a ‘gay rights’ fight when their only concern is winning football games? One poor team answered ‘yes’ to these questions, but 31 did not. Tony Dungy echoed the sentiments of the 31 teams — the sane ones.

Michael Sam isn’t very good but he is a self-congratulatory pseudo-’equal rights’ champion who loves the attention and does not hesitate to throw homophobia accusations around. This is the guy who cut a deal to star in a documentary during training camp, and hid the agreement from the NFL until after he was drafted. This dude is on a crusade, and it’s got nothing to do with making the playoffs and bringing home the Lombardi Trophy. He’s not worth the trouble, not by a longshot. Any rational person can see that, and Tony Dungy is a rational person.

Progressives, however, are not. That’s why Dungy’s remarks have been met with a furor as repulsive as it is predictable. Tony Dungy never criticized Sam’s sexual preference, but he did take a position that diverges from the liberal narrative, and now he is being punished severely for it.

It’s because they’ve claimed so many victories that they have earned the luxury to demand more than a cowering tolerance from their ideological opponents. Conservatives and Christians who tried to keep their hands clean by merely putting up with the slaughter of children and the destruction of the nuclear family are now faced with a dilemma. They can’t just tacitly endorse evil anymore — they are going to be required to give their enthusiastic and active approval.

You’re either with them or against them.

Oh. Really?

IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 hard drives

Days after IRS officials said in a sworn statement that former top agency employee Lois G. Lerner’s computer memory had been wiped clean, the agency put out word to contractors Monday that it needs help to destroy at least another 3,200 hard drives.

The Internal Revenue Service solicitation for “media destruction” services reflects an otherwise routine job to protect sensitive taxpayer information, but it was made while the agency’s record destruction practices remain under a sharp congressional spotlight.

Congressional investigators of the IRS targeting of conservative groups have been hampered by the unexplained destruction of emails and other records of Ms. Lerner, the former head of the IRS tax-exempt division and a central figure in the scandal.

The loss of Ms. Lerner’s hard drive also raised broader questions about why the tax agency never reported the missing records to the National Archives and Records Administration, as required by the Federal Records Act.

While those questions remained unresolved, IRS officials signaled plans to destroy tens of thousands of additional electronic records.

“After all media are destroyed, they must not be capable of any reuse or information retrieval,” IRS officials stated in the contract papers.

Israel abandoned

The anti-Semitic West almost seems to want Israelis to suffer

It’s the moral equivalence which is so devastating. When Egypt this week proposed its ceasefire in Gaza, a BBC presenter asked whether both sides would now conclude that there was no point carrying on with the war. From the start, restraint has been urged on both sides — as if more than 1,100 rocket attacks on Israel in three weeks had the same weight as trying to stop this onslaught once and for all.

Israel has been bombing Gaza solely to stop Hamas and its associates from trying to kill Israeli citizens. But for many in the West, the driving necessity is not to stop Hamas but to stop Israel.

Moral equivalence morphs instantly into moral bankruptcy. People have looked at the casualty count — around 200 Palestinians killed at the time of writing, while only a handful of Israelis have been injured or killed — and decided that this proves Israel is a monstrous aggressor.

No concern at all for the Israelis who have only a few seconds to rush to a shelter when the sirens start to wail, car drivers flinging themselves to the ground at the side of the road. No concern for the elderly or dis-abled Israelis who can’t get to a shelter, the hospital patients left helpless while the rockets slam into the ground nearby.

To these people, whatever Israel does to defend itself is bad. Killing Gazans is bad, warning them to flee so they won’t be killed is bad, the Iron Dome missile defence system is bad because, while Palestinians are being killed, Israelis are not. Ah yes, that’s the real outrage, isn’t it? Not enough dead Jews. How dare they defend themselves so effectively!

Now IRS Reports EVEN MORE Computer Crashes, Doesn’t Know If Emails Still Exist

And the skepticism grows…

pinocchioIRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane said in transcribed congressional testimony that more IRS officials experienced computer crashes, bringing the total number of crash victims to “less than 20,” and also said that the agency does not know if the lost emails are still backed up somewhere.

The new round of computer crash victims includes David Fish, who routinely corresponded with Lois Lerner, as well as Lerner subordinate Andy Megosh, Lerner’s technical adviser Justin Lowe, and Cincinnati-based agent Kimberly Kitchens.

“You stated at the time that document was produced to Congress, the document, the white paper in Exhibit 3[the June 13 memo], that it was accurate to the best of your knowledge.  Is it still accurate?,” a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigator asked Kane.

“There is an issue as to whether or not there is a ‑‑ that all of the backup recovery tapes were destroyed on the 6‑month retention schedule,” Kane replied.

“So some of those backup tapes may still exist?,” the investigator asked.

“I don’t know whether they are or they aren’t, but it’s an issue that’s being looked at,” Kane said.

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