Another Perspective

Another Perspective

Fort Hood Five Years Later

By 11.5.14

It is the morning of November 5, 2014, and Republicans and conservative activists are overjoyed with last night’s election results which, among other things, saw the GOP take over the Senate, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker winning his third election in four years and Republicans regaining the Governor’s mansion in Massachusetts (subject to a possible recount).

But this morning, the joy is tempered by both sadness and anger. For it was five years ago today, that 12 soldiers, a civilian, and an unborn child were slaughtered in an act of both treason and terrorism by Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan. As Hasan killed his fellow soldiers, he shouted “Allahu Akbar!!!” over and over again. In his possession were business cards bearing the inscription “S of A,” meaning Soldier of Allah.

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Drugs ’R Us — What About Those Side Effects?

By 11.3.14

The marketing of today’s wonder drugs, on which the pharmaceutical industry spends an estimated $4 billion a year, includes warnings about the potentially sinister side effects of those medications. The chilling disclaimers are found in the very fine print of magazine advertisements for the latest cholesterol inhibitor, or in the rapid-fire voice-over about side effects heard over and over again in TV ad spots touting pills for heart burn or insomnia.

For example, a popular sleep aid medication starkly warns of side effects including drowsiness, dizziness, diarrhea, vomiting, hallucinations, muscle aches and pains and even addictive dependency. Pretty tough trade off for good night’s sleep… even if the side effects are “rare and usually temporary,” as the disclaimer says. Sleep through the night, have hallucinations and diarrhea all day?

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Of What Consequence a GOP Senate?

By 10.27.14

If it’s good enough for Nate Silver, it’s good enough for me. The Republicans have a better, much better than 50-50 chance of winning the Senate and the Congress in general.

Nate Silver, as you will recall is the statistical wizard that put to shame Gallup, Rasmussen, and other polling organizations in the last election cycle by calling the election almost perfectly. He is a political liberal but a scrupulous observer of data on his website, FiveThirtyEight, which is currently forecasting the Republicans as having a 63 percent chance of winning a majority in the Senate, a number which has been as high as 66 last week and no lower than 53 during the campaign season. Yet, he hedges his assessment by claiming that “Republicans have the edge, but they haven’t been able to put Democrats away.”

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Dissolve the Federal Election Commission

By 10.27.14

Suppose I was opposed to the election of Hillary Clinton as our next president. Well, don’t suppose: I am. But suppose I were a wealthy man and paid to produce a television ad that centered on a video of Mizz Clinton’s recent speech in which she said, Don’t let anybody tell you it’s corporations and businesses create [sic] jobs. You know that old theory, ‘trickle-down economics.’ That has been tried and failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.”

And suppose I talked to my pals Bob Tyrrell and Wlady Pleszczynski, and asked them to run my ad on the Spectator’s website. As election regulations stand, they could do that without any restriction, so long as I didn’t pay them. But if I paid them, it would constitute some sort of in-kind political donation that would tangle them up in a load of paperwork.

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Covert Operations at a Hard Drive Near You

By 10.15.14

There’s a man who leads a life of danger. To everyone he meets he stays a stranger.” So says Johnny Rivers in the 1960s hit song, “Secret Agent Man.” Alas, at that time there was a sense of mystery about covert operations — jet setting into exotic places, trusting no one in a shadowy profession, and risking one’s life in situ.

But now, courtesy of Facebook, anyone can become a secret agent — what a difference digital technology makes. The social media enterprise has recently announced that its members may now use aliases. Previously, Facebook has required its members to use their real names; however, at issue are certain San Francisco based performers, drag artists in particular, who seek anonymity for protection and therefore wish to use online aliases, viewing stage names as part of their persona. While this poses a legal issue about safety and the right to privacy in certain circumstances, it also has vast implications for the intelligence profession.

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Reporter Won’t Pay Taxes Until IRS Truth Comes Out

By 10.10.14

Are you fed up with your tax money being misspent while the government that collects them tramples on citizens’ rights? When the IRS scandal broke, one man decided enough was enough — and he hasn’t paid taxes since.

Daily Caller reporter Patrick Howley has refused to pay taxes since the public learned about the IRS targeting conservatives. On the 500th day after the news hit, he reviewed what we’ve learned about what happened in the IRS (precious little) and what has happened in our country in the meantime. Here’s just a sampling:

The government shut down because of Obamacare and Republicans got blamed.… ISIS beheaded three Western journalists.… Vladimir Putin seized Crimea. Guatemalan children poured across the border. John Kerry let Iran keep having nuclear power plants. War raged between Israel and Hamas. Armed federal agents stole a rancher’s cattle and then it was all okay because the rancher said something racist. Ebola broke out. A Malaysian plane got lost. Racial tensions spilled over in Ferguson.

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Lame Duck

By 10.8.14

We’re two years into a lame-duck presidency. How are we doing? How do you like it?

There is certainly a bad history of lame-duck presidents. Some call it a “Second Term Curse.” (For example, see Lawrence Summers’ op-ed in August.) In recent history, Nixon resigned, Reagan had Iran-Contra, Clinton was tried by the Senate, George W. Bush had Hurricane Katrina and the 2008 financial crisis, and Obama. Obama’s list just grows and grows.

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Bill O’Reilly’s Soldiers of Fortune

By 10.3.14

Observe, first of all, that there are precedents for Bill O’Reilly’s idea of a mercenary force to engage the Arabs. A private force engaged the Tripolitan pirates during the Barbary wars, and we sent privateers into Central America early in the twentieth century, though no one remembers what exactly they were supposed to do. Neither of these expeditions was strategically successful. However, it can be said they helped mobilize awareness Stateside that, like it or not, there were indeed monsters out there and, notwithstanding the wise words of one of our greatest presidents, it behooved us to seek them out and destroy them.

The Blackwater organization, more lately, has been very good at what it does. However, what Mr. O’R proposed was a force made up of foreign enlistees, not Americans. This can work, judging from past experience, if — as O’Reilly himself says — the force is trained and led by American military officers.

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Archbishop of Canterbury Defends War on ISIS

By 10.2.14

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, in contrast with more skeptical pronouncements from British Baptist and Methodist groups, morally defended Western military action against ISIS in his speech to the House of Lords last week.

“In the here and now, there is justification for the use of armed force on humanitarian grounds, to enable oppressed victims to find safe space,” he told his fellow lords. He explained that ISIS and similarly murderous groups like Boko Haram “have as their strategy to change the facts on the ground so as to render completely absurd any chance of helping the targets of their cruelty.”

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Obama’s Ebola Plan Is Badly Flawed

By 9.25.14

Grim forecasts released separately on Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization say that by the end of January, the Ebola epidemic engulfing Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia will explode to at least 100 times its current size. An estimated 550,000 to 1.4 million people will be infected compared with the 5,347 so far. Scientists now report that 70 percent of infected patients are dying, up from 50 percent in previous reports.

Shockingly, the Obama administration is pouring a staggering $750 million into only one of these three countries, Liberia, over the next six months. Why only Liberia? He’s playing favorites. His buddy Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Liberia’s president. But scientific evidence shows our tax dollars would save more African lives if the money were spent equipping the nations in Ebola’s future path with laboratory tests, gloves, other equipment and expertise before the disease hits them. And it will hit. Oxford University researchers predict that migrating fruit bats will likely carry the virus to fifteen more African countries.