Yep, Bergdahl Deserted + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Thu 03/26/2015 by


The Patriot Post ~


“Wisely, therefore, do they consider union and a good national government as necessary to put and keep them in such a situation as, instead of inviting war, will tend to repress and discourage it. That situation consists in the best possible state of defense, and necessarily depends on the government, the arms, and the resources of the country.” –John Jay, Federalist No. 4, 1787


Yep, Bergdahl Deserted

Bowe Bergdahl, the Army Pfc. taken “captive” by the Taliban but freed in exchange for five Taliban Gitmo detainees, will be charged with desertion. Bergdahl deserted his post in 2009 under cover of darkness, carrying with him a knife, a compass, a camera, a diary and some water. Shortly thereafter, he was “captured” by the Taliban, though the Pentagon never classified him as a POW. At least six Americans lost their lives searching for him. Barack Obama insisted then, “Regardless of the circumstances … we still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity. Period.” He rightly took it on the chin for the foolish exchange and his stubbornness, and the news of the charges, which come after a months-long investigation, is no surprise. On the other hand, one might be surprised the whole thing wasn’t swept under the rug precisely because it’s such an embarrassment for the commander in chief. The administration defended the swap earnestly at the time, with National Security Advisor Susan Rice insisting Bergdahl served “with honor and distinction.” It’s even more obvious now that he didn’t. But the important thing for Obama was never bringing one of our boys home; it was emptying Guantanamo Bay. If he has to, as he put it, “whittle away” one prisoner swap at a time, so be it. Oh, and the released Taliban commanders are eager to rejoin the battlefield when their year in Qatar is up. But not to worry; State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says, “Was it worth it? Absolutely.”

Meanwhile, everyone knows Bergdahl’s name. But how many know the names of the six men who died looking for him? Their names are Pfc. Matthew Michael Martinek, Staff Sgt. Kurt Robert Curtiss, Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen, Pfc. Morris Walker, Staff Sgt. Michael Chance Murphrey and Second Lt. Darryn Andrews.

Saudi Arabia Bombed Yemen and It Can Get Worse

Yemen’s president is in hiding. Classified files from the U.S. Drone program have been seized and handed to Iran. Yemen lies in shambles as al-Qaida, ISIL and rebel groups aligned with Iran wage war. In response, Saudi Arabia pounded its southern neighbor, Yemen, through the night with 100 jets in an effort to loosen the hold the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have on the country. It’s a move that could spark a proxy war split along sectarian lines. Ten countries supported Saudi Arabia in its campaign, with some like Egypt pledging naval and troop support. The United States also provided intelligence to the Royal Saudi Air Force. But Javid Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, paused in negotiating with the U.S. over the nuclear deal to state, “The Saudi-led air strikes should stop immediately and it is against Yemen’s sovereignty. We will make all efforts to control crisis in Yemen.” Of all the failed states in the Middle East, Yemen may prove to be the worst, as several nations are pledging military action. And where’s Obama? He’s a butterfly flittering through a hurricane. He still thinks Yemen is a model for U.S. foreign policy success. More…

U.S. Airpower to Support Iranian Forces in ISIL Fight

In Middle East diplomacy, the United States is working seemingly with two different Irans. Sure, there’s the Iran that is backing Houthi rebels in Yemen, that chants “death to America.” But then there’s the Iran that sent troops to fight ISIL in Iraq, and with which the United States is working. Recently, the U.S. military has directed its air power to the Iraqi city of Tikrit, where the Iraqi Army and the Iranian military have stalled in their offensive against ISIL positions. It requires some sort of coordination with Iran, even if only means Iraqi soldiers telling U.S. intelligence where Iranian soldiers are positioned. National Review’s Jim Geraghty wrote this morning, “So we’re offering logistical help to our allies to help them fight Iranian proxies… while we’re helping Iranian forces in Iraq against ISIS… while we’re attempting to reach agreement with the Iranians on their nuclear ambitions.” That pretty much sums up Barack Obama’s foreign policy bungle. The New York Times suggests this arrangement is yet another effort to gain influence with the Iraqi military over Iran’s jockeying. There’s only one Iran with one vision for how its relationship with the United States will develop. The Obama administration better figure out what Iran wants before it gets burned. More…

ObamaCare, Year Five: ‘It’s Working’?

Five years after ObamaCare became the “law of the land,” as Democrats like to remind us, Barack Obama says it’s running smoothly. “This law is saving money for families and for businesses. This law is also saving lives. It’s working, despite countless attempts to repeal, undermine, defund and defame this law,” Obama boasted Wednesday. “It’s not the ‘job-killer’ that critics have warned about for five years.” That is unless you’re one of the millions of people who are being given less work because of the health care law. According to a report in the Washington Examiner, “A new survey by the Society of Human Resource Management released Tuesday found about 14 percent of businesses have reduced part-time hours and another 6 percent plan to do so.” That figure will only rise as employers will be forced to offer insurance to a greater percentage of workers over the coming years. But no matter, a haughty Obama sneered: “We have been promised a lot of things in the past five years that didn’t turn out to be the case – death panels, doom, a serious alternative from Republicans in Congress.” Just because the law hasn’t yet imploded says absolutely nothing about its long-term sustainability. Indeed, it’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. And Republicans have offered alternatives; the problem is that Democrats treat free-market solutions as a joke. Obama also added, “It’s not the fiscal disaster critics warned about for five years.” Actually, the Congressional Budget Office lowered projected cost estimates because overall enrollment was less than projected. Just a minor caveat.

Bob Costas Resumes Assault on Second Amendment, Framers

Bob Costas, the longtime sportscaster turned outspoken gun control advocate, visited with HBO’s Bill Maher where he inevitably resumed his assault on the Second Amendment and took a shot at America’s Founders. Recalling last year’s domestic violence dispute involving pro football player Greg Hardy, Costas exclaimed, “He threw [his girlfriend] on a couch with loaded shotguns and assault weapons on the couch,” as if the mere presence of firearms made Hardy do it. “Now, is this what the Founding Fathers had in mind?” he continued. “That Greg Hardy should be armed to the teeth? That private citizens should be able to purchase cop-killer, armor-piercing bullets? That you should be able to have an AK-47? I mean, carry it to its logical conclusion: If you’re fearful of a tyrannical government taking away your rights as a citizen, then you oughta have a bazooka. You oughta have a tank. You oughta be able to have nuclear weapons if you can get them before ISIS can get their hands on them.” Now, to his credit, Costas did lash out against political correctness, even among fellow liberals – right after his politically correct attack on the Second Amendment. We’re all entitled to our own opinions, of course. But when it comes to voicing those views on public platforms, leftists have the benefit of avoiding censorship.

For more, visit Right Hooks.

Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column

Read The First Medals of Honor, on generations of MoH-recipient Patriots whose service to our nation has been distinguished through extraordinary heroism and sacrifice.

If you’d like to receive Alexander’s Column by email, update your subscription here.


U.S., Israel and Iran: Three’s a Crowd

As if meddling in Israel’s elections with an aim to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasn’t enough for Barack Obama, in the wake of Netanyahu’s win – and Obama’s loss – the White House has accused Israel of spying on U.S.-Iran nuclear talks. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that current and former U.S. officials claim the spying was part of a larger effort by Netanyahu to gather information on the negotiations in order to build a case against the deal.

Ever the sore loser, Obama, while sidling up to Iran, is apparently hoping to paint our closest ally in the Middle East as the enemy. Ironically, the U.S. learned of this purported spying – wait for it – by spying on Israel. That’s right. The Journal reports, “The White House discovered the operation, in fact, when U.S. intelligence agencies spying on Israel intercepted communications among Israeli officials that carried details the U.S. believed could have come only from access to the confidential talks, officials briefed on the matter said.”

The truth, though, as political analyst Charles Krauthammer points out, is that “the Israelis could easily have gotten it from eavesdropping on the Iranians, and might have gotten it openly from the French, who are in the talks and are quite dismayed by how much Obama and the White House have given away in these negotiations.”

For its part, Israel has denied spying on the U.S., and given Obama’s well-documented penchant for lies, one more added to the mix would hardly be a surprise.

Despite Obama’s huff and bluster, it appears he’s less concerned with spying and more ruffled that Israel might have shared information on the negotiations with Congress. As one senior U.S. official said, “It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy.” Yes, this must be bad for The Most Transparent Administration in History%trade;, which would rather keep Congress in the dark when it comes to negotiating a nuclear deal with a nation whose leader repeatedly says, “Death to America.” Whatever would make us think Congress should be made aware?

And about that Iranian chant, CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta confronted the administration earlier this week, asking Obama press secretary Josh Earnest why his boss trusts Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who as recently as this past weekend said in a public address, “Death to America.” Earnest ridiculously responded that this is the exact reason negotiations are needed to secure a commitment from Iran to stop the nation from getting nuclear weapons. Of course, this administration would do well to remember just how little “commitments” mean to Iran.

But it doesn’t end there. According to National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar, the White House went on to justify Khamenei’s statement by saying it was “intended for a domestic political audience.” Thank goodness. We thought it was intended for a nation intent on developing nuclear weapons.

Obama’s determination to alienate Israel and equal intent to coddle Iranian terrorists is disturbing to say the least and reveals where his allegiance truly lies. So irate is he over Netanyahu’s re-election and so determined to appease the Iranians that he is not only justifying cheers for America’s demise and threatening to end U.S. support for Israel at the United Nations but also adopting Palestinian talking points regarding Israel. On Monday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough claimed in a speech to the left-leaning J-Street, an anti-Israel Jewish lobbying group, that “an occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end.” That the administration would parrot Palestinian claims against Israel – claims emanating from the same source that regularly launches rockets against Israel – is without excuse.

Many have questioned whose side Obama is on, but the time for questioning is far past. By demonstrating his utter disdain for America’s closest and most faithful ally in the Middle East, Obama has made his loyalties clear. It’s now up to Congress and the American people to prevent 2015 from marking the year America turned its back on Israel – and the world.

Imperfect Reform at the VA

Recovering at a Tampa VA hospital

It’s barely a year since Congress passed legislation to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs, and already we see just how imperfect that reform actually was. The Senate’s Committee on Veterans’ Affairs met with deputy VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson this to iron out reforms. One reform would allow veterans to seek private medical care if they live a certain distance from a VA care facility through the Choice Card program.

A 2014 law stipulates veterans who live 40 miles as the crow flies from a VA clinic of any kind cannot seek private help. They have to go to the government-run clinic.

After the hearing, the department and the committee announced that it has smoothed over the discrepancy. The VA said it would educate veterans about the Choice Card program, and that veterans can seek private medical attention – paid for by the VA – if they have to travel more than 40 miles to get to a VA clinic that handles the procedures they need.

But while this minor speed bump has been leveled, a whole crop of new scandals has risen up in the department.

The VA faces the ire of the chairman of the House Veterans’ Committee because it squandered funds rebuilding the Denver VA Hospital. Budgeted at $328 million, the lone hospital ballooned to over $2.73 billion with no end in sight to the project.

Oh sure, on the surface everything looks peachy. Barack Obama announced the formation of an advisory committee to study the department and suggest reforms. Another day, another study committee is thrown at another government problem.

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) said in a statement, “I’m concerned the administration’s decision to convene an advisory committee composed of outside experts to help improve VA services is a duplicative step that misses the mark. The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, which the president signed last August, already mandates two top-to-bottom reviews of VA’s health care system.”

And the agency’s inspector general is set to lay into the Philadelphia VA Hospital. According to The Washington Times, the IG will release a report in the coming months accusing the hospital of things like unprocessed claims in its pension management center.

This is what it’s like to reform a large government agency – even after an administration change that vowed to hand out pink slips like confetti. And the 40-mile rule, while it’s about the closest we can probably get to a free market at the bureaucracy, it’s a Band-Aid atop a Band-Aid. How many do we have to apply before we call the whole department fixed?

The nation has a responsibility to take care of veterans injured in her wars – that’s just. Even going back to the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress promised pensions for Patriots who took up arms against the British and were wounded on the battlefield.

But for as long as veterans have returned from the battlefield, inflicted with wounds from Minie Balls to Agent Orange to PSTD, corruption and bureaucracy have tainted the nation’s care for them. CNN reports that because the states were responsible for paying out pensions after the Revolutionary War, only a few thousand veterans got paid.

When the VA was first created by consolidating several government programs – through a Herbert Hoover executive order in 1930 – it was already festering and the scandals only multiplied as the government expanded.

A decade earlier, after Warren Harding created the Veterans’ Bureau, he appointed Charles Forbes, a friend of his who used every corruption trick in the book to wring money from the fledgling organization, from taking bribes to snatching up land where the VA wanted to build hospitals. Forbes, unlike bureaucrats today, ended up serving time in jail.

Today, everybody is riding the cash cow. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-GA) said in a statement after the 40-mile rule was ironed out, “The Senate VA Committee’s job, and the members of the Senate’s job, is to get more money if we need to; it is not to make excuses as to why we can’t do things for our veterans.”

And veterans expect the government to keep its promises, even if it’s swimming in corruption and waste. Roscoe Butler, deputy director for health care at The American Legion, told the committee, “The American Legion still strongly believes the VA is the best method for delivering care to veterans. However, we also recognize there are constraints VA must overcome, such as geography and workload that sometimes make this difficult.”

Gee, why couldn’t the private health care system also deliver care whenever and wherever the veterans need it?

Enough of this. It’s time to stop pretending that the VA health care system can ever work. Abolish the whole thing. Sell the hospitals and the Community-Based Outpatient Clinics. Put the money into an endowment for the men and women coming back from war and let them choose when and where they receive care.

Back when the wait-time scandal was still boiling, Mark Alexander wrote, “The VA is a case study in failed government health care delivery – there is no effective way to implement accountability in these huge government bureaucracies. … [T]he VA case study has significant implications for the future of ObamaCare and the Democrats’ ultimate goal of central government managed distribution and delivery of health care services across our nation.”

It is time for the VA to step aside from providing health care to veterans. Think of it this way: Do we really think a bloated bureaucracy is the best way to serve American Patriots?

For more, visit Right Analysis.


For more, visit Right Opinion.


French lawyer Montesquieu (1689-1755): “Republics end through luxury; monarchies through poverty”

Historian Victor Davis Hanson: “If Obama somehow manages to scare the Iranians into a treaty, he surely will not credit the senators for allowing him the leverage to play good cop to Sen. Cotton’s bad cop. More likely, the Munich-like agreement will fail in the face of outrageous Iranian demands and an even more outraged American public. When it does, Obama will then blame Cotton and his Republican colleagues for undermining his doomed efforts. Such scapegoating is now old hat for Obama, who has blamed factors ranging from George W. Bush to tsunamis for his foreign policy and domestic failures. Republicans, Democrats and all Americans should thank Cotton for reminding the Iranians that under the U.S. Constitution, the Senate must ratify treaties with foreign powers. Cotton will get no credit if the Iranians get worried over his letter, relent and offer needed concessions. But Cotton will endure plenty of blame if Iranian negotiators walk away in fury because a skeptical U.S. Senate would have to approve any sweetheart deal that they pulled over on Obama. In other words, Cotton is not a blunderer – he is a classic lose/lose tragic hero.”

Columnist Cal Thomas: “Here’s some advice, not only for [Sen. Ted] Cruz, but for the other would-be candidates: Instead of nonstop attacks on President Obama, adopt a positive and future-oriented agenda. Cruz and the other candidates can start by considering some uplifting new videos created by Bob Woodson, president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI.), who recently accompanied Woodson on a tour of some of America’s poverty pockets. They spoke with people once considered beyond redemption, but who have turned their lives around. The result is a just released seven-part online video series called ‘Comeback.’ The series highlights stories about drug addicts, alcoholics, abusers, gamblers, prostitutes and others, who with inspiration, motivation and perspiration are now inspiring others to pull themselves up and out of dire circumstances without help from the government. … Focusing on what works is better than ideological bomb-throwing, as even Hillary Clinton suggested in recent remarks. Woodson and Ryan have created something that could shift the political debate for 2016, if Cruz and the other candidates listen and get the attention of those voters who are disgusted with a dysfunctional and costly federal government.”

Twitter satirist @weknowwhatsbest: “Liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz said Ted Cruz at Harvard was ‘off the charts brilliant.’ BHO’s grades there were, well, removed from the charts.”

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

Read more excellent articles at The Patriot Post