There has been plenty of hang wringing on the Left lately about so-called "dark money," cash spent on political campaigns by undisclosed donors. Andy Kroll over at Mother Jones posted a piece a few days ago which breathlesly warns of "5 Signs the Dark-Money Apocalypse Is Upon Us." Most of the fuss centers around cash spent via 501(c)(4) and (c)(6) organizations. Donors to such outfits are not subject to the same disclosure laws as those who pony up directly to campaigns or to political action committees. To be sure, opinions vary as to whether obscure political giving should be considered kosher. But would you be shocked if I told you that the Left has taken to using "dark money" as a term of art to discourage donations to conservative charities?
The Spectacle Blog
This morning I read President Obama's speech to the UN General Assembly and would like to take this time to draw attention to eight things in it that I found really annoying.
I'm sure that many of you upon reading the preceding sentence will ask, "Only eight?" Well, I do believe in mercy. Not to Obama, but to my readers. But I digress.
1. Russia & Ukraine
President Obama did provide a nice summary of all the things Russia has done to Ukraine in recent months: annexation of Crimea, arming violent separatists, shooting down a civilian airliner and eventually moving troops into Ukraine.
So how does Obama intend to respond in kind? He proclaims, "We will impose a cost on Russia for aggression, and counter falsehoods with truth."
Lois Lerner has finally broken the silence since pleading the Fifth before the House Oversight Committee. She granted an interview to Politico magazine, in which she did more whining than sharing any useful information.
What caught the most attention was that she said people shouldn’t be so angry with her, and compared herself to Jeffrey Dahmer:
BQ Among the hate mail, Lerner’s “favorite” is one that says she’ll “go down in history as the worst person ever in the United States.”
“I just thought, ‘Boy, worse than Jeffrey Dahmer?’” she asks, her face crinkling up, eyebrows pinching together in disbelief.
This statement, see, came in the middle of complaining about the “harassment” she’s received since leaving the IRS. It seems conservatives are trying to ruin her life.
Lerner doesn’t think she’s that bad…she just used the powers of her public office to punish her political enemies and grant favors to causes she liked. It’s not like she ruined anyone’s life.
Congratulations are in order for controversial conservative journalist Dinesh D'Souza who received sentencing today after being found guily a few months back of campaign finance violations. He will spend 8 months in something called a "community confinement center," the New York Times reports, and will pay a $30,000 fine, but will avoid prison time.
D'Souza is perhaps best known of late for his work as a filmmaker. His "2016: Obama's America," released before the last election raised eyebrows with the suggestion that the president is carrying out an anti-colonialist agenda passed on to him by his deadbeat dad. More recently, he released "America: Imagine a World Without Her," which pulled in over $14 million at the box office, and published a companion book which hit the number one spot on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list. I bet the folks at the Gray Lady just loved that.
Last night, the U.S. along with a handful of Arab countries commenced airstrikes against ISIS and al Qaeda strongholds in Syria. While this could prove to be a very positive development, I have my doubts. As such it leaves me with more questions than answers.
How long will the air campaign against ISIS and al Qaeda last? Obviously I don't think the Obama Administration should be telegraphing that, but I can't see them doing this for any length of time. American military involvement in Libya, such as it was, lasted seven months.
If the Obama Administration insists that there will be no U.S. troops on the ground will these Arab countries (i.e. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar) fill in the breach?
Assuming the answer to that question is no then how long would it take before ISIS & al Qaeda reconstitute after being "degraded"?
But if the answer is yes then would these countries assist Syrian rebels not only in dispatching ISIS and al Qaeda, but in overthrowing the Assad regime?
I've been following the results of the New Brunswick provincial election with great interest. For those who are unfamiliar with this Maritime Canadian province it is one of Canada's four original provinces and it borders Maine.
The story tonight is that the results are up in the air. A new electronic tabulation system has not been in sync with the hand counted ballots so Elections New Brunswick has halted the process until further notice.
The big story today is income inequality and the rise of the top one percent. They’re doing very well, and for their part so are the poorest Americans, who are propped up by a generous welfare system. At the bottom end of the income distribution, people are also finding jobs.
It’s the jobs in the middle of the distribution that have cratered, a phenomenon economists call “jobs polarization.” Highly paid jobs have expanded, but then so too have poorly paid, low-skilled ones. We’re talking about hands-on jobs such as food service workers, janitors and gardeners, cleaners, home health aides, hairdressers and beauticians. They don’t require a high degree of education, they’re not unionized and they won’t make you rich, but the jobs are there. It’s all very well to be in the one percent, but people are still needed to mow the lawns and mop the floors, and that’s not going to be done by computers or machines.
Well, this is disconcerting.
Three Afghan soldiers who have been undergoing training at Camp Edwards in Massachusetts went missing on Saturday night following a trip to the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis.
Officials from U.S. Central Command insist there's nothing to be alarmed about and that the three men have broken no laws and pose no threat to the public.
But how can we be so sure?
There have been numerous instances of Afghan military members turning on U.S. soldiers in recent years. If there are Afghan soldiers prepared to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan then is it really a stretch of the imagination to think that, if the opportunity presented itself, they would come to the United States and plot attacks either against our military bases or against civilian targets?
You know things are going badly in terms of recruiting a broad coalition against ISIS if the Obama Administration is seeking Iran's help. During a UN Security Council Meeting on Iraq, Secretary of State John Kerry said, "There is a role for nearly every country in the world to play, including Iran."
This would be the same Iran whose President, Hassan Rouhani, earlier this week in an interview with NBC called the coalition against ISIS "ridiculous." Rouhani also said, "When we say red line, we mean red line." These aren't the words of a country that is looking to help us against ISIS.
Then again how can the Obama Administration expect any country to help us against ISIS if it won't help itself?
Less than 24 hours after the Scottish Referendum, SNP Leader and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has announced he will step down in November.
Although the Yes side lost by a 10 point margin, it is certainly far better than anyone expected. So I doubt there was any pressure brought to bear on him to resign if they lost. Of course, maybe there was pressure on him to step aside but for reasons unrelated to the referendum. As I wrote the other day, Salmond has come a long way from when he had a broom sized office at Westminster.